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.

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This image is taken from ‘Buxted Village Walk’ 1978 is the barn that was to be converted into the new village hall. In 1948 the bottom would have been more open as they were open cart sheds. This image depicts their use as lock up garages. The oast was to be converted for storage facilities. There had been a larger barn to the right, but this had been demolished by the time of this sketch. It was still standing in an image taken in 1941 and presumably in 1948 when there were ambitious plans for its conversion. These presumably came to nothing with the death of Basil Ionides in 1950.

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. Also included in this scheme was a highway approved entrance, new gates, and some parking by the entrance. 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 many years of negotiation with the Scouts the Ionides Trust finalised the alteration to their lease in 2020. This change in lease was required to enable the land to be leased to the BCHT. However, lack of any real enthusiasm from the wider community has put this project on hold until further notice but the planning permission for the new hall remains open in perpetuity.

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, to the open spaces with new trees been planted on site, scrub cleared away, the site opened out and the grass regularly mown, and hedges cut. 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.

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 was carried out be to improve the drainage at the entrance to the playground. This work was completed in Autumn 2020.

The Ionides land was well used during the COVID pandemic and appreciated by many people locally and from a wider area, using it as a safe, open meeting place with convenient parking

In 2020 a resident approached Buxted Parish Council with the idea for a COVID memorial which would include planting cherry trees following a nationwide initiative to plant tree circles across the UK ‘to help signal reflection and hope’ following the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly £500.00 was donated by enthusiastic local residents, the balance being paid by the Ionides Trust. A plan was drawn up to plant three specimen cherry trees on the Ionides land, near to the entrance of Buxted Surgery, where there already were some maturing cherry trees. A bench, slightly higher up on the slope, was included in the plan. On the 15th of October the trees were planted, and the bench installed. Two tree guards, which had originally been situated in the Millennium Wood, were also installed. The tree guards had been donated by the Woodland Trust who had to fell the diseased trees, had been especially made for Buxted. The work was finished during 2021.

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.

At the present time, April 2023, the Scouts are in the process of submitting a planning application to replace the current scout hut with a much bigger building. Any detailed comments, on the new build, will become available when WDC has passed on the planning application for comments. The Managing Trustees of the Ionides Trust are supportive and understand the need for a new scout hut, especially with the availability of outside funding but the IT remain concerned at the scale of the proposed building and the knock-on effect that it would have on the land outside of the scout leased area. The wider community will have an opportunity to comment and, if necessary, an Extraordinary General Meeting will be convened for all those who currently use or may use the Ionides Land for social and recreational purposes and bearing in mind what maybe needed in the future.

Any further information required about the Ionides Trust should be addressed to the parish clerks.