The News Journal reports:
Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society has received £11,000 funding from Ashfield District Council as part of its plans to open the area’s first planetarium.
The money will support the society’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a 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, on Coxmoor Road, Sutton.
The society, founded in 1970, operates the observatory, which houses one of the largest amateur telescopes in the UK.
Steve Wallace, project manager at Sherwood Observatory, said: “We are so pleased to have received this much needed funding from Ashfield District Council.
“It will support our Heritage Lottery application for plans for the Science Discovery Centre and Planetarium at the observatory.
“The observatory is 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.”
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Coun 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 and Sutton Astronomical Society. 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.”