PLANS to expand the award-winning Kielder Observatory have been agreed after the business celebrated it’s best year yet in 2018.

Newcastle-based architectural practice, JDDK Architects has secured planning permission from Northumberland County Council on behalf of Kielder Observatory for the construction of a planetarium as a further astronomical attraction to the increasingly popular scientific and tourist destination.

In response to the huge demand and interest, the popular visitor attraction opened its second state-of-the-art observatory in April 2018 and launched new events with more to utilise the space.

It was revealed the tourist hotspot attracted 23,000 visitors annually.

Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal architect at JDDK, said: “The proposal is for a seven-metre diameter structure set down in the landscape on a 1.1m plinth so that the peak of the dome appears at the same height as the adjacent observatory.

“The circular form of the domed roof acts as a foil to the linear form of the two observatories with the curved form leading out to define a curved viewing platform.”

The long-term plans to create an astronomy village were first revealed in 2016, with additional overnight visitor accommodation.

Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park recently celebrated its fifth birthday.

The event provided the opportunity to find out about the successes of the last five years, including the economic benefits of dark skies tourism, updates from the Kielder Observatory and Northumberland Tourism and ongoing plans for people to discover the starscape from Redesdale.