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Go-ahead for £70,000 extension at observatory

PUBLISHED: 15:52 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:07 12 January 2018

One of the domes at The Norman Lockyer Observatory. Picture:Terry Ife

One of the domes at The Norman Lockyer Observatory. Picture:Terry Ife

Archant

Plans to build a £70,000 extension at Sidmouth’s Norman Lockyer Observatory have been given the green light.

The proposed plans for the Norman Lockyer Observatory. The proposed plans for the Norman Lockyer Observatory.

The proposals, which include a new classroom and an extension to the Lockyer Technology Centre, as well as a new disabled access ramp, 
will allow more experiments to take place than ever before.

An application was submitted on behalf of the observatory to East Devon District Council in November and was approved on January 3.

At its core, the site is made up of three Grade II listed buildings which 
were built at the start of the 20th century.

Over the years, a number of extensions have been added, promoting amateur astronomy, meteorology, radio astronomy, and science education.

It is also the home of a very active amateur astronomical society.

David Strange, Norman Lockyer Observatory chairman, said there were three aspects to the development which he thought would cost in the region of £70,000.

He added that bosses had a directors’ meeting to discuss how they could raise the money, over the next year, to cover the cost of the development.

David said: “It is brilliant news. We will obviously be starting to fundraise soon.

“I can’t say too much 
at this stage, but we 
would love the support of the community and we 
are really looking forward to getting our teeth into this project.

“It will be wonderful 
for the observatory - we 
do lots of community events. We use a marquee for Sidmouth Science Festival and British Science Week, but it will be so much better to have it under cover.

“It will make our operations much user-friendlier. It will also give us more space for school parties and we will have a classroom for our astro scouts – we have over 20 of them now.”

The new classroom will be built on the north of the site and will also be used as a function room and the extensions will double the size of the Lockyer Technology Centre.

It is hoped it will be up and running in the next two years.

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