Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society have received £11k funding from Ashfield District Council as part of their plans to open the areas first planetarium.
The £11k funding, provided by Ashfield District Council, is to support Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the Victorian underground reservoir into a visitor centre and associated planetarium.
The reservoir, built in the late 19th century, is situated on land next to Sherwood Observatory, which is on Coxmoor Rd, Sutton-in-Ashfield.
The Society operates the Observatory, which houses one of the largest amateur telescopes in the UK. The Society was founded in 1970 and the Observatory designed and constructed entirely by Society members and supporters.
It was announced in September 2019 that both Sutton and Kirkby were set to each receive up to £25million as part of the Towns Fund.
The initial Capacity funding of £324k (£162k per town) has been granted to put structures and a vision in place in order to move to the next stage of agreeing a deal. As part of this, the Council will be working with the Discover Ashfield board, as well as local businesses and community groups.
Steve Wallace, Project Manager at Sherwood Observatory, said “We are so pleased to have received this much needed funding from Ashfield District Council. This funding will support our Heritage Lottery application for our plans for the Science Discovery Centre and Planetarium at the observatory.
“The observatory is currently closed due to the pandemic, but we are continuing to hold meetings and host talks for members by video conference. We have recorded the talks and created a YouTube channel so the wider public can watch them as well. Educating the public is important to us and the funding will hopefully help us get closer to our goal of creating a unique visitor attraction in the area”.
Cllr Matthew Relf, Cabinet Member for Place, Planning and Regeneration at Ashfield District Council, commented “I am proud that the Council have allocated funding to the Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society (MSAS). The observatory is one of Ashfield’s greatest assets and MSAS have developed a great plan to turn it into a fantastic visitor and educational centre.
“This funding demonstrates our commitment to this project and the benefits it will bring to the economy in Ashfield. We hope that this plan will reveal the true potential of the observatory as a fantastic tool for education, and have a positive impact on Ashfield’s local tourism”.