MoD sells off part of Gosport’s old Browndown training camp site

SOLD The Browndown site in Gosport
SOLD The Browndown site in Gosport
Defence secretary John Nott with the captain of HMS Hermes, Capt Lyn Middleton pictured at the top of the Harrier jet ski-ramp at the bow of the aircraft carrier during the minister's visit to Portsmouth Naval Base

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THE Ministry of Defence has finally sold the former army camp site at Browndown in Gosport – but the town’s council leader has warned: No homes will be allowed.

The land was sold to private firm Jumbuck Ltd for £754,000 after months of negotiations.

Now the leader of Gosport Borough Council is urging the buyers to come forward and talk about what the site can be used for.

Councillor Mark Hook says any plans to build homes on the site would be rejected as the site is part of the strategic gap – the area of land from the shoreline up to the Alver Valley.

Cllr Hook said: ‘It remains in the strategic gap and we will have to look very closely at what permissions can be given.

‘Because it is part of the strategic gap there is a leisure aspect to it.

‘What I would suggest to the people who have got it is to come and talk to the council to find out what would be acceptable on that site.

‘Any buildings would have to be no higher than the ones that are there now.

‘There are plenty of options available but we are ruling residential options straight out.

‘We wouldn’t even consider residential use so if they come to us with it the answer would be no.’

Little is known about Jumbuck Ltd but The News understands a local entrepreneur has been put in charge of the company’s plans for the Browndown site.

Cllr Hook said he would welcome leisure uses for the site such as a holiday camp that brought employment to the area.

He added: ‘I do welcome the fact it has been sold and hope it doesn’t become like Daedalus where nothing happened for years.

‘So I’m pleased things have been moving.’

The MoD received six offers for the site by the time bidding closed in 
December 2010.

It chose its preferred bidder in January 2011 but it took months for the deal to go through.

The land was previously used by soldiers for accommodation while they were training.

It was decided the site was surplus to military requirements as part of 
the MoD’s review of its estates.

The MoD announced its intention to sell the camp at Browndown in 2009.

Councillors immediately voiced their opposition to any plans for housing developments on the site.

Alternative accommodation is now used for the army cadets, although the training area itself has not been sold and will still be used.