portsmouth - Plans have been submitted to turn a 238-year-old ruin into a modern-day home.
The proposals seek renewed consent to transform Racton Ruins, which is a striking tower that was built on a hill in 1772 and close to the village of Funtington, near Emsworth.
The tower was built as a folly as part of the Stansted Estate and many believe was used by the then owner to see his trading ships berth at Emsworth, then a major port.
Mark Talbot, who has owned the tower for 30 years, has applied for planning permission to turn the tower into a home.
He has already been granted planning permission before, but wants to renew the consent to keep the refurbishment plan alive.
He said it would cost in excess of £500,000 to convert.
'It's just a renewal of permission which you have to do every three years, if you have not done the work,' he said.
'It's going to take an awful lot of money. We could start next year, or this year even, we just don't know. We just have to keep the planning consent.'
Mr Talbot said he has no qualms about living in the building if it is haunted as rumours suggest.
'I don't believe in it being haunted,' he said.
THE RACTON FOLLY
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Near the village of Walderton in West Sussex stands an 18th century ruin known as Racton Monument or Racton Folly. Completed in 1772, it belonged to the Stansted estate of the Earl of Halifax and is thought to have been designed by Henry Keene, an architect who was involved in the building of Uppark, a large country house nearby. Little is known about the building's history or its purpose, it may have been intended as a summerhouse or viewing point — the story goes that from the top of the tower Lord Halifax could watch the return of his merchant ships in the Solent.
Constructed of brick and flint, the monument consists of a two-storey, triangular structure with a tower at each corner and a large tapering, circular central tower rising to approximately 25 metres. The three floors of the central tower and its original conical roof are no longer extant.
IS RACTON FOLLY HAUNTED?
The spooky tower of Racton Monument may or may not be haunted but it's certainly one of the spookiest places in Sussex. Some referred to the folly disparagingly as Stansted Castle, assuming it to be an act of grandeur, rather than just a celebration of individuality.
Others went further, deriding the style of the Tower for its undoubted ugliness. But many other people love Racton Tower.
Many think that Racton Ruins is one of the most frightening haunted places in West Sussex. Others disagree.
Let's consider the evidence.
The myths surrounding the use of the tower by smugglers and the general decay of the ruins add to the Blair Witch project type feel of the place. Graffiti adds to the sinister atmosphere.
But the ruins have been a well known place for raves, drinking and drug taking and many of the reports of ghosts come from people who were, by their own admission, not exactly sober at the time of their brush with the undead. Practical jokes are probably not unknown for the same reason. That's not to say that everyone who has ever reported ghostly goings on at the tower was as high as a kite, but it certainly weeds out a few accounts from the ghost hunters' case book.
From a birds eye view it looks like a triangle symbol (that was used by devil worshipers) The folly has been reported to have been used by cults and devil worshipers for over 100 years. The last report we found of this was in 2009.
There is also found reference to it being used as a brothel back in the 1800's.
There are many reports of paranormal activity at the folly. There have been reports of bricks being thrown from the top of the tower and a ghostly woman walking around the building. Also of a ghostly face looking out through a window of one the top floors. And the most disturbing of being physically grabbed and pushed. But oddly the most popular story is that of a ghost tractor in the fields that comes right up to you then disappears.
Racton has also been a place for suicides.
What isn't in doubt is that the site is evocative, atmospheric and definitely spooky, if not actually haunted.
There are plans afoot to restore the Monument - it badly needs it as the brickwork is in a very precarious state.