Buxted has won planning permission to build a new village hall after a long battle to overcome objections because of restrictions on development within 7km of the Ashdown Forest.
The planning approval stresses that the application can only be compatible with conservation objectives if the use of the existing hall, the Reading Room in Church Road, ceases.
A notice, confirming planning permission, was issued in December after a legal document was signed by Buxted Parish Council which agreed that upon first use of the new hall the Reading Room would be permanently emptied with all services disconnected.
Now it’s full steam ahead in the village with fund-raising activities already organised to help pay for the new hall.
There will be a charity dinner at Buxted Inn on March 18; a Buxted Ball at Buxted Park Hotel on May 8, and a concert by the Tunbridge Wells Orpheus Male Voice Choir on June 13 at St Margaret’s Church.
It is also hoped money will be raised at other events including open gardens on May 17 and June 15, possibly at Buxted fete, a fashion show, auction of promises, a quiz night and a raffle.
There was a Speeding through Local History talk in January where village hall trustee Sheila Bartholomew said the hall would offer multi-purpose, welcoming rooms to enable a wide variety of activities.
There would be a large hall with an adjacent smaller hall connected to facilitate the combined use of the two for activities such as theatrical productions.
There would also be a lobby area that could be used as a community café and meeting point.
The hall would overlook the nearby children’s dedicated play area and provide a natural route through to the recreation ground to maximise the use of the available outdoor space in the heart of the village.
Sheila said: “If anyone has any ideas for raising more money, any sources of funding, or any capacity to help in any way, we’d love to hear from you.”
The site for the new hall is outside the village development boundary on open green space to the west of Framfield Road and south of the Buxted Medical Surgery.
The planning application was approved subject to conditions at a meeting of Wealden planning committee north in July, 2014.
An officer’s report to a meeting of Wealden’s planning committee north in July 2014 said: “Council officers have been supportive of this location throughout pre-application processes by recognising that this edge of village location is a sustainably located site.
“There is no other more suitable or viable site for the consolidation of the community function.
“The Reading Room is known to be significantly constrained by surrounding development and would in time fail to meet the demands placed upon it by a growing community.”
The contemporary single-storey building will cover 312 square metres of floor area in comparison with the Reading Room which has the potential to offer 325 square metres of floor space, which takes into account the size of the building and its permissible extension.
A new access onto Framfield Road is to replace the existing one.
The report to the planning committee in July said that providing there was no material alteration to the character of the use of the existing hall, at the Reading Room, the proposal for a new hall would have no adverse effect on the ecological integrity of the Ashdown Forest in terms of nitrogen deposition either alone or in combination with other development.
“This is because there would, with the cessation of use of the existing hall, be no reason to assume any increase in vehicle trip generation over the Ashdown Forest.”
The report stressed that the use of the Reading Room should be “properly extinguished in law” and that legal document is the one that was signed in December.
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