SHOCK and sadness.

These are the emotions of local residents to the bombshell that a historic Hampshire military port has been put up for sale.

About 150 civilians and 600 military personnel work on the 300- acre Marchwood site on Southampton water.

However, job fears were sparked when news emerged it could change hands as part of the Government’s strategic defence review.

Electrician Dennis Kitcher, 69, of Marchwood said: “I’m shocked.

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It’s such a big part of the area. It will have big knock-on effects on the economy if we don’t have the troops down in the precinct.”

Special needs teacher Claire Webb, 46, of Dibden, added: “I’m in shock. A lot of my friends work there and are connected to it. With the amount of jobs that will go and the money it will take out of the local economy, it will take the heart out of Marchwood.”

Plans to sell off the port were revealed in Saturday’s Daily Echo but it is still not known if the site will close or be run by a private operator.

It is thought the site – currently named Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre – could now become a target for Associated British Ports (ABP) which has plans to expand Southampton docks.

It is feared the company may revive controversial plans to build another huge container terminal.

The Government defence review could see the axe falling on 42,000 jobs and is expected to save £850m.

The MoD confirmed the site could be used by private industry but added no decision had yet been taken on the sale.

A final decision will be made before the review ends in five years time.

Additional reporting by Luke Tugby