Hous­ing plan a ‘threat to Jo­drell Bank’ is stopped

Macclesfield Express - - NOSTALGIA - STUART GREER

THE Gov­ern­ment has blocked a hous­ing de­vel­op­ment which it was claimed would threaten the sci­en­tific future of Jo­drell Bank.

The Sec­re­tary of State for com­mu­ni­ties stepped in to re­ject an ap­peal by Glad­man De­vel­op­ments for 119 new homes at Main Road, in Goost­rey, two miles from the ob­ser­va­tory.

In his de­ci­sion, Sa­jid Javid, said the de­vel­op­ment would ‘ im­pair the ef­fi­ciency of the Jo­drell Bank ra­dio tele­scope’ and that ‘the pro­tec­tion of Jo­drell Bank ob­ser­va­tory as a fa­cil­ity of in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance tran­scends the hous­ing land sup­ply cir­cum­stances of the case’.

Over­all he con­cluded that the harm to the ef­fi­ciency of the ra­dio tele­scope car­ried ‘sub­stan­tial weight against the pro­posal.’

The de­ci­sion has been hailed by Cheshire East Coun­cil who have been fight­ing the plans.

Coun­cil­lor Ains­ley Arnold, cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing and plan­ning, said: “Jo­drell Bank ob­ser­va­tory is a vi­tal as­set to this bor­ough, the na­tion and the in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tific com­mu­nity. The pro­tec­tive zone around the tele­scope has been in place since 1973 and we are very pleased that its im­por­tance has been recog­nised and re­in­forced.

“As a coun­cil, we are do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to meet the hous­ing needs of our area. How­ever, this was sim­ply the wrong de­vel­op­ment in the wrong place. It is very good to see that the long-term pro­tec­tion of vi­tal sci­en­tific work has pre­vailed over the short-term high de­mand in hous­ing sup­ply.

“This fur­ther un­der­lines the im­por­tance of the on­go­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the coun­cil and Manch­ester Univer­sity over op­er­a­tions at the site.”

Cheshire East re­fused the plans last year on grounds that it might have a detri­men­tal im­pact on the tele­scope but the de­vel­oper ap­pealed and a plan­ning in­quiry was held to rule over the pro­posal.

Scientists claim ra­dio in­ter­fer­ence through in­creased hu­man ac­tiv­ity from mo­bile phones and elec­tric­ity lines has al­ready stopped scientists from being able to find new pul­sars, dense stars that send out ra­dio waves.

In its ob­jec­tions chiefs at Jo­drell Bank said they feared the Glad­man de­vel­op­ment will in­crease the level of in­ter­fer­ence by 10 per cent to a level which ex­ceeds an in­ter­na­tion­ally agreed thresh­old for “detri­men­tal in­ter­fer­ence” to ra­dio as­tron­omy ob­ser­va­tions.

Glad­man De­vel­op­ments did not re­spond to re­quests for a com­ment.

Par­ents and coun­cil­lors campaigning against the pro­posal to close Pott Shrigley Church School

The Lovell tele­scope at Jo­drell Bank

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