A LANDOWNER, whose family used to own Southwick Park, says he is completely opposed to the idea of thousands of homes being built there.
Mark Thistlethwayte’s family owned the estate, north of Portsdown Hill, before the Ministry of Defence took it over during the Second World War.
The MoD then purchased the site for a fee of £40,000 (around £1.4m in today’s money), telling the family that when they no longer had a need for it, they would sell it back to the family.
However, the MoD then put the site up for sale last week, stating that the land will be sold off to free up space to build thousands of homes.
Mr Thistlethwayte, speaking to BBC Radio Solent said: ‘We were assured that as soon as it was not needed in the interest of the nation’s defence, it would be offered back to us.
‘Up until ten years ago they were always reassuring us that it would be the case.
‘When we heard that they were selling the site we were delighted but then on the other hand the announcement appears to have got tangled up in the freeing up of government land for housing to try to raise as much money as possible.
‘We hope it is just a case of a misunderstanding and we are completely opposed to plans of housing to go there.’
Mr Thistlethwayte added that if the family were able to buy back the land, they would look to build a sports academy on the site or find a ‘community-based’ purpose for it.