The Kithurst Hill tank, which has overlooked Storrington since the 1940s, was suddenly removed on Sunday.
One of the Horsham District Year of Culture’s hidden gems, the mark two Churchill tank’s removal sparked a large public outcry on social media.
But now Horsham District Council has confirmed the reason behind the move.
A spokeswoman said: “We have checked with the Norfolk Estate, which owns the land, and can confirm that the tank was removed for restoration.”
The tank will eventually be relocated to a British Museum that is being created in France to recognise the D Day Landings, she added.