The Basil Ionides Trust land was donated by the Ionides family in 1953, after the death of Basil Ionides, to the village of Buxted for social and recreational use by the community. Basil Ionides, a well-known architect, had saved Buxted Park from demolition and subsequent development in the early 1930’s.The three acre site is bounded by the A272 to the north and Framfield Road to the east, The western boundary of the field is the embanked Buxted to Uckfield railway line beyond which are agricultural fields extending towards Buxted Park.
The Scout Hut (1963) and Rifle Range (1949) are the only older buildings now surviving on the site. The Buxted Surgery was opened in 2102 and the Ionides Playground, for young children, was relocated at the same time. Both the Surgery and Ionides playground were built over the site of previous agricultural buildings of Lower Totease Farm. The land on which Buxted Surgery was built is leased from the Ionides Trust, which for the first time in its sixty some years of existence, could now draw on a regular income to maintain that land held in trust. Previously the only funds available for maintenance and improvements were gained from fund raising activities which yielded little income for a good deal of hard work.
In early 2014 planning permission was finally obtained for a new village hall on the site of the Ionides land .The new community hall site is located on the high ground opposite the surgery site, and above the playground where there is an existing area of hard standing that was associated with earlier agricultural buildings.. In late 2017 the BCHT trustees commenced phase 1 of the new hall by starting to build the foundations, otherwise the planning permission would have lapsed. Sadly, in early 2019, with only four trustees remaining and no interest from the wider public to take the project nearer completion, the BCHT trustees dissolved the charitable company. After three years of negotiation with the Scouts the Ionides Trust are still wating to finalise the alteration to their lease in 2020. This change in lease was required to enable the land to be leased to the BCHT.
When the new surgery was being built some of the soil from the ground works was used to form a bund to the rear of the car parking spaces and some soil was used to level out that part of the site which connects the Ionides land with that belonging to the parish council. As part of the planning conditions a car park was built for the users of the Ionides land. With more income the Ionides Trust was able to make general, small scale, land improvements. the land new trees have been planted on site, scrub cleared away, the site opened out and the grass regularly mown. New seats and picnic tables are now in place and the whole site is a pleasant and well used open green space within the heart of Buxted. As a result of another planning condition a substantial sum of money was awarded to provide play equipment for older children and young adults. In 2017 a zip wire, giant swing and a range of outside exercise equipment were installed on land which belongs to the parish council. Thus, the two spaces, under different ownership, were genuinely joined together to provide a recreation space to be enjoyed by all local people.
Historically the Ionides Trust consisted of a group of Trustees of representatives from the Scout Group, Rifle Club, Parish Council and members of the community. They were responsible for the maintenance of the land and also maintaining the legal and financial aspects of the leases. However, there was an increasing lack of interest from members of the community to become trustees who were willing or able to carry out the duties of the Trustees. In April 2018 the Parish Council took on the responsibility of the Managing Trustee of the Ionides Trust whose charitable aims remained the same and the finances and meetings are kept completely separate to those of the Parish Council.
In late 2019 a decision was taken to enlarge the community car park as the original; surface was not fit for the daily constant use for the users of the surgery and damage was being sustained by car park users parking on the grass surround and breaking down the kerbs. At the same time work will be undertaken to improve the drainage at the entrance to the playground. This work will commence in the Spring of 2020.
Any further information required about the Ionides Trust should be addressed to the parish clerks,