The need for a new Parish Hall was identified by the community through the 2005 Parish Action Plan: a community hall fit for life in the 21st century. The vision is to develop a real heart to Buxted integrating the Ionides Trust land and recreation ground as a combined space for the community.
The Buxted Community Hall Trust involves various stakeholder groups in the community including support from the council. This is a charitable company to take the project to the next stage. If you are interested in getting involved you are more than welcome to come along to meetings and help out.
The new hall will not be a parish council-owned facility as is the Reading Room. As with the Five Ash Down and High Hurstwood village halls, it will be a true community hall, owned and run by the community.
The PC also granted funding which has been used to hire an architect to develop the hall plans. Simon Barker (Barker Shorten Architects LLP) was appointed, having been identified from a previous screening of locally known architects, for his ability, experience and expertise working on community projects. Many of you attended the drop-in workshop Simon organised in January to help inform him of the broad community’s needs. This work included spending a day with children at Buxted School and carrying out surveys of the school children and Saplings pre-school and of local parent’s’ needs and aspirations.
A planning application was submitted to Wealden District Council in 2011 which unfortunately fell foul of the 7km Ashdown Forest building veto ruling. However, work continues with Simon Barker and Wealden District Council to find a solution to this problem. A further application will be submitted in 2012 to allow for formal costing of the project and to ensure a holistic vision for the Ionides site that includes the surgery and the hall, clearly the hall has a long way to go before it becomes a reality, not least raising the necessary funds.
For minutes of the Buxted Community Hall Trust AGM meetings, see links below: