The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed it will sell Whitton's Kneller Hall as part of a £500m estates disposal plan.

The department said money from the sale would go to support the armed forces, while land from 12 sites could be used to build 15,000 new homes.

Almost exactly a year ago the MoD claimed it had no plans to dispose of the landmark mansion, which is home to the Royal Military School of Music.

Twickenham MP Tania Mathias said she will be fighting for the MoD to reverse its decision.

She said: "I am dismayed to hear this announcement from the MoD, particularly considering that there has been no public consultation on the sale of Kneller Hall. 

"I do not support these plans and will be fighting them together with local councillors. 

"I have asked ministers to meet with me and reverse their decision, and I will be asking local residents to join me in signing my petition I have started against the sale, which will be presented to Parliament."

Councillor Liz Jaegar said: "So much for all the denials last January when Vince [Cable] raised this.

"Losing the army musicians would be desperately sad for Whitton and the borough if it goes ahead.  "They have added so much colour and fun to the area over the years - and all with no consultation.

"We will be asking the council administration if they knew about this and will try to get the decision reviewed."

Defence minister Mark Lancaster said in a statement released yesterday: "By streamlining the defence estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the armed forces well into the future.

"Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient, with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe."

Liberal Democrat councillor Alexander Ehmann said he was "shocked and appalled" by the "sneaky" announcement "out of nowhere".

Councillor Gareth Elliott said: "I am shocked and saddened by the news that the Government has decided to publish without consultation the proposed sale of Kneller Hall. 

"This is a cultural asset to the local community and if a sale happens will be akin to ripping a limb from the community. 

"I will be seeking further clarification and with the people of Whitton will challenge this announcement."

The school was granted the freedom of Richmond in 2007 and exercised that right with a military parade through the streets of Twickenham in September 2014.