Sunday 21 July 2024
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£5m new planetarium in Nottinghamshire approved

A new £5m planetarium and science discovery centre in Ashfield has been given the go-ahead.

Ashfield District Council’s planning committee has given the green light to the plans for the Sherwood Observatory in Coxmoor Road, Sutton.

Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society (MSAS) and the council are partners on the scheme.

Ashfield District Council’s success is astronomical as the plans for the extension and transformation of Sherwood Observatory in Sutton were given the go-ahead at Ashfield District Council’s Planning Committee this morning.

The Sherwood Observatory in Sutton. Credit Ashfield District Council

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Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society have developed plans for Sherwood Observatory, Sutton, which will see a planetarium and educational centre join the observatory as part of the £62.6 million Towns Fund Deal for Ashfield.

The plans were given a huge boost in January with confirmation of £3.1million secured for the project from the Levelling Up Fund.


The proposal will see the construction of a new planetarium built on top of the existing Victorian subterranean reservoir which will be transformed into an exhibition hall, classrooms, and meeting/conference rooms.

The planetarium will be open for pre-booked visits, scheduled events and educational visits.


The plans for the observatory will create a unique experience that will draw visitors from across the East Midlands, and beyond, to Ashfield.


Work will start on site later this year with completion expected in 2024.


Cllr Matthew Relf, Executive Lead Member for Regeneration and Corporate Transformation, said:

“This is one of the most exciting projects for Ashfield, out of the 20 planned projects; the planetarium will enhance our local educational facilities and will surely inspire the next generation to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The observatory is an exceptional asset not just for Ashfield, but the wider area.


Martin Rigley MBE, Chairman of the Discover Ashfield board, said:

“The jobs and prosperity of our area will be increasingly dependent on having a STEM-educated workforce.

“The new planetarium and visitor centre will play a key role in presenting these subjects in an exciting and hands-on way to raise awareness of the opportunities a STEM career can unlock.”


Steve Wallace, Planetarium Project Manager, said:

“Granting of our planning application is great news and it represents a big step towards delivering on our vision to create a fantastic new science discovery centre and planetarium that will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs as well as bringing visitors into the area”


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