New visitor space planned at Jodrell Bank
Jodrell Bank, home of the iconic Lovell telescope, has revealed its plans to inspire scientists of the future.
The world famous Cheshire observatory is not only a leading science facility but also a popular attraction.
Plans have now been submitted for a brand new Discovery Centre which it's hoped will attract thousands more visitors each year to the site.
They include an events area, glass-walled cafe and Galaxy Maze in the shape of the solar system.
For more than 50 years,
Jodrell Bank has been at the forefront of radio astronomy quietly probing the depths of space from its rural location south of Alderley Edge.
Lovell telescope built in 1957
tracked Russian probe Sputnik
helped to understand black holes, supernovae, pulsars and quasars
voted UK's greatest unsung landmark in 2006
currently operates the UK's e-MERLIN network of telescopes
Operated by the University of Manchester, its giant 76-metre Lovell telescope is not only a valuable research tool furthering our understanding of the Universe, but has also been voted the nation's favourite unsung landmark.
However, its original visitor centre, built in the 1960s, was demolished in 2003 and its many thousands of visitors each year have been restricted to a small exhibition space and cafe, 3D theatre and inflatable planetarium.
Now, the world famous Jodrell Bank is looking to revamp those facilities with a new Space Pavilion including a new 36-seater classroom pod and events area, where budding scientists will be able to quiz astronomers and find out what the telescope is doing.
Architects for the redevelopment - which also includes a new glass-walled cafe - have been appointed and the plans are now waiting on Cheshire East Council approval and the 'few millions of pounds' of funding to be confirmed.
Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "This is a really important milestone for us."
"Alongside plans to redevelop our facilities, we will be taking the opportunity to revitalise our visitor programme, and we look forward to welcoming lots of new people to Jodrell Bank in the future."
The planned development has strong support from Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of Jodrell Bank and the Lovell Telescope, who lives nearby.
"The very modern design that has been developed reflects the fact that the work of Jodrell Bank is at the forefront of research into astrophysics.
"The new facilities will pass on the spark of inspiration to the school pupils who are the scientists of the future."
Jodrell Bank says that, if development goes ahead, its schools programme will continue uninterrupted over the summer alongside its astronomical work.