Hugh Pickens writes "Like to own your own five-story observatory equipped with a 12" Meade Schmidt Cassegrain catadioptric telescope and a 20-inch Shafer-Maksutov telescope — the second-largest of its kind in the world? Well, there's one for sale at Marina Towers in Swansea, at an observatory that could be Wales' largest telescope. The Swansea Astronomical Society moved out two years ago, blaming increased rent and other costs. So the city council has asked interested parties to submit their proposals and financial offers by the end of March. Brian Spinks, the chair of the society, says the extra rent and running costs meant the society's members would have had to find around £40,000 over the next 10 years. 'The members can no longer be expected to finance such a public presence from their annual subscription. If we had to find £40,000 over the next 10 years it would kill the society.' The observatory was built in 1988 and includes a domed roof, an access tower that houses a spiral staircase, a stained-glass roof by artist David Pearl and panels of carved poetry by Nigel Jenkins. 'We'd like to see a mixed-use development that incorporates features of the existing observatory building,' says Coun Gareth Sullivan, Swansea council's cabinet member for regeneration. 'Bringing the observatory back into use would add even more vitality to the promenade.'"
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