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LONDON-Defence Estates, the property arm of the Ministry of Defence, has sold the former Rowcroft and Templer Barracks in Ashford, Kent, unconditionally for £18 million ($28 million) to Westbury and Wimpey Homes. The site extends to 126 acres and includes over 600,000 sf of existing buildings including married quarters, workshops and a listed manor.

The site was the former intelligence base for Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War, and the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is due to open next year, is currently being built through the middle of the site.

Westbury and Wimpey Homes have bought the land without any planning permission, although it has been identified in the Ashford Borough Local Plan for mixed-use development, with the majority being identified for residential use. Development on the site is likely to start in 2003.

Drivers Jonas advised Defence Estates.

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