An historic military building used as a film set for Hollywood blockbusters is up for sale.
Minley Manor, a Grade II listed country house built in the French style by Henry Clutton in the 1850s, is being sold by the MoD with a guide price of £5million.
Along with being a film location for hits such as Stardust, the impressive building has been used as an officers’ mess and a wedding venue. Since 1971 it has been an officers’ mess for Royal School of Military Engineering units at Gibraltar Barracks, which are located on the opposite side of Minley Lane.
But it is unoccupied as a new officers mess is now housed in a new-build at the barracks themselves.
Councillor Adrian Collett, chairman of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council, would like to see the venue’s rich history celebrated and re-opened as a tourist attraction.
He said: “It is a fascinating building. Various prime ministers stayed there, as did Queen Victoria. In 1984 a 38-page book was published on the building.
“I would love someone like the National Trust or English Heritage to take it over and open it as a tourist attraction.”
The box office hit Stardust, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, was filmed at the site in 2007. The manor house also became a French château used as a prisoner of war camp and factory for the V-1 flying bomb in the 1969 movie Mosquito Squadron.
Minley is a popular filming destination with the opening scenes of the 2005 adventure movie Sahara filmed at Hawley Lake and the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day was shot in Hawley Woods.
Minley Manor was built in 1858 for Raikes Currie, a partner in Glyn Mills’ Bank. During the next three years attention turned to the estate, with the creation of formal gardens around the house and a kitchen garden.
On Raikes’ death in 1881, his son Bertram continued the development, employing Messrs Veitch to lay out a winter garden and extensions to the pleasure gardens, which included Hawley Lake, in the 1880s.
The house was the birthplace of the British diplomat Sir Reginald Hoare in 1882.
One of the principal features of the park is a 600metre Wellingtonia tree avenue which sits to the north of the manor house.
The property was passed to the British Army in 1934 but the MoD now wants to save money by parting ways with the manor.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “The MoD continually examines ways of improving military capability and value for money for the taxpayer.
“As part of this approach the MoD keeps the size and location of its bases and properties under constant review and is committed to ensuring that the defence estate is no larger than necessary to meet operational needs.
“Minley Manor has been assessed as surplus to defence requirements and is being sold on the open market.”
Property consultancy Carter Jonas in Basingstoke is working on behalf of the MoD to find buyers.