Jodrell Bank to become headquarters for the world’s largest radio telescope

“CHESHIRE’S very own Jodrell Bank has been chosen as the permanent headquarters for the world’s biggest radio telescope.

artist's impression of SKA headquarters by the Lovell

artist’s impression of SKA headquarters by the Lovell

With an estimated worth of £1bn in private sector investment, the project will  result in a huge economic boost for Cheshire East.  On top of this, the venture will help to secure an additional 200 jobs on the University of Manchester site near Holmes Chapel.

The Square Kilometre Array telescope is said to be capable of looking all the way back to the aftermath of the Big Bang.  It will spread across two continents using 2,500 dishes and a whopping one million antennae.

Announced just yesterday at a meeting of SKA members, the news comes days after Cheshire East Council agreed to invest £1m in Jodrell Bank.

Caroline Simpson, the Council’s executive director for economic growth and prosperity, said: “This is a real statement of confidence in scientific research in Britain and also in Cheshire East.

“The Council believes this will lead to further opportunities in the Cheshire and Manchester region and the Council has set out a clear action plan to develop the technology and science corridor in the area. Jodrell Bank plays a key part in this plan.

“We will continue to work closely with partners across the Manchester city region to develop the site’s record in hosting world-class science and visitor activities.”

Both Italy and the UK put in a bid to host the new headquarters and were judged as ‘excellent’ and both suitable for the project’s needs.   But after a great deal of consideration, Members of the SKA organisation went with the UK, thanks to the strong package offered by the government.

Professor Stephen Watts, Head of the School of Physics & Astronomy at The University of Manchester, said: “This is great news for Jodrell Bank. Not only will it mean cutting edge science will continue to be carried out at the site for the foreseeable future but it will also help inspire the thousands of children who visit here every year from schools across the country. It is a great honour to be chosen as the headquarters of the largest telescope ever built.” Knutsford Guardian 30th April 2015


Britain has been chosen to host the permanent headquarters for the world’s largest radio telescope, an observatory that aims to delve deep into the early history of the universe.

Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project decided on Wednesday that the Jodrell Bank site would become the full-time home for the telescope’s operational centre, despite an impressive Italian counter-bid.

Rather than employing one enormous dish, the SKA will draw on more than one hundred thousand dishes and antennae spread across Africa and Australia to create a collecting area of one square kilometre. Construction is due to begin in 2018.

The challenge for project’s engineers is to build a radio telescope that is tens of times more sensitive and hundreds of times faster at mapping the heavens than today’s best observatories.  The telescope will be powerful enough to pick up extremely faint radio signals that were emitted from cosmic sources more than 13 billion years ago, when the first stars and galaxies began to form.

Astronomers hope that the vast telescope will help to answer some of the toughest questions of the universe, such as how did the cosmos form and evolve; what is the invisible dark matter that seems to cling around galaxies; and what is dark energy, the mysterious force that appears to drive the universe outwards?

The project has been operating from the Jodrell Bank Observatory on a temporary basis, but yesterday’s decision to make the Cheshire site the permanent headquarters is an important boost for the region. The telescope is expected to operate for 50 years.

The telescope will generate data at an extraordinary rate. In its first phase, scientists anticipate 160 terabytes of raw data per second coming from the machine, the equivalent of more than 35,000 DVDs every second.   The Guardian 30th April 2015


Jodrell picked for SKA Headquarters

 Good news for Jodrell Bank as it has now been chosen to be the permanent site for the SKA headquarters.  As George Osborne tweeted this evening: ‘Just heard: HQ of Square Kilometre Array, one of world’s biggest science projects, won by UK at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire #NorthernPowerhouse’

“Decision on the SKA Headquarters

The Members of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project have today (29th April 2015) decided that negotiations should start with the UK government to locate the permanent Headquarters of the future SKA Observatory in the UK, at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site – current site of the SKA Organisation’s Headquarters.

Members of the SKA partnership were invited to bid to host the Headquarters in 2014. Two bids were received, from Italy and the United Kingdom, both of which were judged to be excellent and suitable for the project’s needs. After consideration, the Members have expressed their preference for the Jodrell Bank site.”

Source: SKA press release 29th April 2015

Tickets now on sale for Goostrey Ball 2015 on 11 July 2015

Tickets are now available and selling fast for the Summer Ball at Hollins Farm on Saturday 11 July, our major fundraising event for the new Goostrey Scout Hut and Youth Facility.

Please join us for a memorable evening.  The last Summer Ball held at this idyllic venue in 2008 was a sell-out, and the 2015 Goostrey Ball promises to be a night not to be missed.

Tickets, which cost £65 each, can be bought individually, or up to a table of 10.

Please contact Caroline Goodchild to reserve your place – tel 07836 386327 or by email:

Goostrey Ball 2015

Goostrey Ball 2015



Gladman’s response re JBO objection

Gladman’s response to JBO’s comments on the CEC Shearbrook planning page makes interesting reading:

“We write in respect of the above planning application, and specifically to respond to the formal consultation response from Jodrell Bank Observatory [JBO], which is set out in the email of Mr Simon Garrington to Sue Orrell of 22 January 2015.

JBO objects to the application and, in summary, the consultation response claims that:

  • Radio interference from a range of electrical and electronic devices affects the operation of the Lovell telescope.
  • The interference received at the telescope from a given location depends on the distance from the telescope and the interfering terrain, as well as the strength of the transmission itself.
  • JBO has constructed maps (based on Ordnance Survey data and recognised propagation models) so that potential radio emissions and interference arising from a given development proposal (as a function of direction and distance from the telescope) can be estimated.
  • The application proposal at Goostrey is likely to generate interference which exceeds the internationally agreed threshold for what constitutes ‘detrimental interference’ to radio astronomy observations.
  • According to analysis, the proposed development could increase the total interference in a sector (10 degrees wide, out to 40 km) by at least 10%.
  • The proposal poses a significant risk to the efficient operation of the Jodrell Bank telescopes.

Gladman has made several requests to JBO (following receipt of the objection and at the pre-application stage) to release its modelling data, on which the formal objection to the planning application is based. JBO has however confirmed to us that it is not prepared to release this information. Furthermore, JBO has confirmed that this information has not been made available to Cheshire East Council [CEC].

Representatives of Gladman attended a meeting with Simon Garrington and a colleague of JBO on Friday 27 February 2015. This meeting was requested by Gladman in order for us to further understand JBO’s concerns regarding the proposal. At the meeting Simon Garrington gave a presentation expanding on his comments made on the formal consultation response. JBO refused to release the presentation slides to Gladman however.

The actions of JBO and the refusal to release the evidence that it relies on to support its objection to the proposal points to obfuscation. In the absence of the information, it is impossible to properly quantify the impact of the proposed development and the practical implications of it for the efficient operation of the telescope. Continue reading

Parish Council supports freeze on development

Goostrey Parish Council feature on the Letters page of the Knutsford Guardian this week; supporting Holmes Chapel’s call for a freeze on housing until Neighbourhood Plans are in place……………..

“HAVING read James Wilson’s article, April 15, about Holmes Chapel Parish Council’s plea for a freeze on further development of Holmes Chapel until a Neighbourhood Plan is in place, Goostrey Parish Council unanimously resolved at its meeting to support Holmes Chapel Parish Council’s campaign.

Goostrey residents are heavily dependent on Holmes Chapel to provide many health, educational, leisure and retail services they use.

It is important to Goostrey residents that the infrastructure needed to support the development for Holmes Chapel and its surrounding villages is put in place before any more unplanned development is permitted.

Goostrey Parish Council is particularly concerned about the danger of land in Holmes Chapel needed for the expansion of essential services, such as health, leisure and retail and additional parking, being lost to more unplanned housing before the necessary services have been identified and planned.

The lack of strategic planning threatens to prevent Holmes Chapel developing into a Key Service Centre capable of supporting the growing number of people around Holmes Chapel which will rely on it.

Goostrey Parish Council therefore requests that Cheshire East adopts a policy which imposes a moratorium on further housing in and around Holmes Chapel until there is a plan in place to provide the services and associated infrastructure needed to support current and planned housing.

Goostrey is in the process of producing a Neighbourhood Plan and our vision statement is  “To maintain Goostrey as a desirable and attractive rural village in which to live, supporting a high quality of life for all residents.  Any future changes or developments shall be determined for the long term benefit of the whole community.”

Peter Godfrey, Chairman – Goostrey Parish Council

Gladman withdraw opposition to Bucks Neighbourhood plan

Gladman Developments has withdrawn a legal bid to overturn the making of Winslow, Buckinghamshire’s neighbourhood plan.
Gladman’s wanted to overturn Aylesbury Vale District Council’s decision to allow the plan – which allocates five sites for 455 new homes up to 2031 – to proceed to referendum and then to “make” or adopt the document.
But Gladman has withdrawn from the Court of Appeal proceedings and is also no longer challenging the secretary of state’s decision to refuse planning permission for a 211-home development on land off Verney Road in Winslow.

Susan Kitchen, manager, development management at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the residents of Winslow.

Source: Planning resource.