Category Archives: community action

NEWS: Paynsley Hall / plan opposition / new clerk / xmas trees / theft

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late November 2014
News of…:  full opposition to housing plan / new parish clerk – but curate leaving / Draycott’s historic registers go online / Paynsley Hall “at risk” / xmas trees & holly for sale / Stuart Avenue attempted theft  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Unanimous opposition

The parish council meeting which discussed the proposed new housing estate  for Cresswell saw a unanimous rejection of the plans by the council members.
It seems clear that the idea of building two new roundabouts in this area, one outside Blythe Park and one on Uttoxeter Road by Church Lane, is unacceptable.

Not onlynow does VVSM (the local community group) oppose the plans completely, but now the parish council have given a similar verdict, and Bill Cash, our local MP has also come out strongly against – so it seems like everyone in the district is “singing from the same hymn sheet”.

It’s still not sure that the Moorlands Planning Committee will having their vote on the plans at its meeting on December 18th – but it seems likely.
If you have views, you may want to talk to VVSM or the parish council before that meeting; as, afterwards it may be too late.

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Comings … and goings

After almost six months since the post was advertised, a new Draycott Parish Council clerk has been appointed.  Kate Bradshaw, who lives in Uttoxeter Road, and is already well known as the treasurer to St Margaret’s Church, will take up the role at the end of this month.  She’s going to be pretty busy – and we wish her the best of luck.
The parish council has also taken this moment to change its email address, which is now draycottparishcouncil@aol.co.uk.

However, otherwise, it’s bad news for St Margaret’s.  As we reported a fortnight ago, Chrissi Thompson, the youth club worker, is leaving at the end of the year, but now also comes news that the curate John Pretty is also resigning, as he is having to leave the area for family reasons – with effect from December 31st.
John and his wife Angela have been mainstays of the community at large – so they will be missed well beyond the church congregation.

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Time for history

Talking of St Margaret’s, history enthusiasts will be celebrating the fact that all Staffordshire’s historic Anglican parish registers (dating from 1538-1900) have just been published on the internet as part of the county ‘digitisation project’.
Records of 600 years of burials, baptisms and marriages in Draycott are now available to you at the flick of a keyboard!  The Draycott-le-Moors burial records cover over a thousand entries by themselves.. If you are trying to trace family history, it is an amazing resource.
However, if you are new to Staffordshire Archives Online, we suggest you go into our local library and get a little advice on trawling it first; as the huge size of the records can be overwhelming.

Paynsley Hall in 1960

Paynsley Hall in 1960, before parts of it were demolished

However, local history buffs may be depressed by the other news this month: the annual report from English Heritage about UK listed buildings has put the Paynsley Hall ruins on the ‘at-risk’ register.
Paynsley Hall is an ancient mansion on farmland in Cresswell. It was substantially demolished in the 1960s, though bits of it remain.  The remains weren’t in very good condition before – but EH says the condition of them now is even worse.
The ruins can only be approached by permission of the land-owner, though you can get a glimpse of them from the nearby public footpath (see the Cresswell-Paynsley Country Walk).

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Welcome the holly & the fir-tree

A little better news is that Christmas trees start to go on sale this weekend at the Draycott Plant Nurseries.  Our one from last year is still happily growing; so we can testify to their quality.
This year Neil is also providing some interesting varieties of holly, including Ilex ‘Golden King’, Ilex ‘Red Tips’ and the Ilex ‘Ferox Argentea’, the silver hedgehog holly. Ferox comes up like a 3-D effect with snowy tips.  Nice decoration…

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Petty crime

Finally, we have got a bit fed up of carrying reports of petty thefts recently, but unfortunately here’s another one.

This time it was an attempted garage burglary by two men in Stuart Avenue last week.  Even though it was before dawn, the attempt was foiled by a vigilant neighbour who frightened the pair off.  They weren’t caught.
As usual, the incident reminds us that sheds and garages are just as attractive to thieves as homes, so good security for them is a must.

If you have any help you can give the police, phone 101.

***
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A wildlife information board for Cresswell

It’s great to see a real community-style project come together.
The fact that Cresswell now has a smart new wildlife information board is down to collaboration between the local community action group, the area county councillor, the county wildlife trust, the local highways team, and even the district policing team.
It has all been what you might call – a ‘working together’!

The wildlife information board was the brainchild of Cresswell’s own Jacquie Leach, ably supported by her neighbour Louie Horlestone – whose knowledge of wildlife in our area simply can’t be beat. Louie also took some of the photographs.
Then, other members of the VVSM Community Group also promised support, added to which, our area county councillor Mark Deaville was able to donate £700 from his ‘Community Initiative Fund’.
You can see the results of all this work by going along to the lay-by in Cresswell (by the old telephone box).

Wildlife Board unveiled

Mark Deaville (right) unveiled the board, watched by Jacquie Leach (left) and some young enthusiasts

Unveiling

On Saturday morning (15th Nov), Mark Deaville formally unveiled the board. It was a cold morning, but VVSM were supplying hot coffee and scones, which maybe explains why the crowd was bigger than expected (!).

On the board are listed over twenty species which can be found in or around the stretch of the River Blithe.  Because there is a narrow strip of isolated land, between the river and the railway line (stretching from the industrial park right up through the side of Draycott to the A50 roundabout), wildlife does manage to flourish here undisturbed.  There are even over a dozen species which Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has described as ‘priority’.

Wildlife board - detail

The wildlife board shows a number of species, all surrounding the figure of Izaak Walton

It’s amazing to think that otters have even been glimpsed in this stretch, but SWT did confirm that this is very possible, as otters are returning in numbers to the Moorlands region.

Great Tit

Great Tit – pic L Horlestone

Other species which are worth looking out locally for are the birds: skylarks, wheatears, and water rails, all of which are becoming rarer.

Sturdy structure

“We are all very grateful to Mark Deaville for the grant,” Jacquie told us, “as a sturdy, metal structure like the one we have here comes very expensive!  To save money, we did the graphics ourselves, and put it up ourselves.  And it’s pretty strong, I’m glad to say.

“The real hope is that local residents will realise, even more, how wonderful the nature immediately around us is.  Even Staffordshire Wildlife Trust were surprised when we showed them the amount of the species that local people had seen and recorded here.
“We know also that a lot of walkers pass through Cresswell, so a board like this will make them feel welcome and, you never know, might encourage more visitors to our hamlet…”

Crowd at unveiling of the board

Crowd at the unveiling of the board

But… why is there a figure of the seventeenth century angling writer Izaak Walton shown on the board?
Jacquie explained: “There is a long tradition that the famous man actually did come to Cresswell to fish.  You’ll find this story mentioned in a few accounts.
Izaak was a great lover of nature – so it seemed right that he should be on the board too!”

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NEWS: busy police / wildlife event / youth club issue / Christian aid

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-November 2014
News of…:  a road crash in Cresswell; arrests for drug-dealing;  wildlife information board goes up; youth worker Chrissi resigns; and the Africa aid charity which is based here …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Police activity

Last weekend was a busy one for the police locally.  On Saturday, they were here in numbers after an accident outside the Izaak Walton pub saw one man arrested for drunk-driving; and then for a drugs raid which saw two young men also arrested.

In the crash, which involved two vehicles, fortunately there were only minor injuries.  However, if you go past the Izaak today you’ll see a couple of bollards have been uprooted by the force of the collision – which just goes to show how much we should count our lucky stars we weren’t in the way at the time…

The drugs raid was on an address in Rookery Crescent (at the southern end of Cresswell).  Two men, both in their mid-twenties, were arrested at the address – where some cannabis was found – and the pair , one from Cresswell and one from Draycott, were arrested for ‘possession with intent to supply’.

PC Dave Stubbs, who is our Neighbourhood Policing Officer, said help from local people was incredibly important: “Our commitment to tackling drug dealers, and those who benefit from such crime. But, we cannot continue this work without the help and support of local people; and the information they provide about crime in their community is imperative”.

As usual therefore…:  if you know something that the police might find useful, phone 101 or, if you want to be anonymous, contact the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

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Highlighting wildlife

You’d have thought that the VVSM local community group would have enough on their hands, what with raising money for a defibrillator and also organising resistance to the proposed housing development on Blythe Park.  But, they certainly like to be busy!

Another of VVSM’s long-standing projects has been to erect an information board near the bridge over the River Blithe in Cresswell, highlighting some of the wildlife to be found in the area, especially birds and small mammals.

Well, their dream has come true, and the board will be unveiled this Saturday (November 15th) by local district councillor Mark Deaville.  It’s a bit of an early start (at 9.30 in the morning) – but Jacquie and Shelagh are laying on free breakfast muffins and hot coffee to anyone who makes it to the ceremony.
Sounds a very good deal to us!!

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Youth club issue

The successful Mish-Mash Youth Club, which caters for children between 10 and 14, is under a cloud right now with the news that Chrissi Thompson, the youth worker there, has decided to leave the role.
Around two dozen children use the club, which meets every Thursday evening at Draycott Church Hall, in a project funded by the Church.

It’ll be a quite a blow to the club as Chrissi is, above all, incredibly committed to the work she has been doing with local youngsters over the last six years.  She has worked in schools, running family clubs and counselling individuals – all across the Blythe Bridge and Draycott area.
St Margaret’s, and its other church partners, is now looking for a replacement to take over from Chrissi in the New Year, but will only now be funding someone on a much more part-time basis.

In a sense, the youth club is probably safe, as it is a priority venture.  However, funding for youth projects is always under review; and an appeal for sponsors for the church’s work in this field is under way now.  If you would like to donate, contact St Margaret’s.

We wish Chrissi the best of luck in her new life.  If you see her in the street, it would be a good idea to wish her a very merry Christmas!

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Aid to Africa from … Cresswell

Talking of Christian aid, we were amazed to see that a charity that helps in Africa has a base right here in Draycott.

Krizevac Project - children's centre staff

Krizevac Project – staff

Krizevac, a Catholic aid agency working in Malawi, was recently given warehouse space at Blythe Industrial Park by Malcolm Barrett, the man who – ultimately – owns and manages the site.

Although Krizevac are based in Abbots Bromley, they say they had simply run out of storage area for all the second-hand books, bikes, computers and sewing machines that are donated to them to enable them to carry out some of their social enterprise work in Africa.

It’s amazing to find what’s on our own doorstep!

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

NEWS: Opposition to plans; big house auction; Zulu expert; new sound loop

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2014
News of…:  public opposition to development plans / Burger man’s other life as Zulu expert / new sound loop at St Mary’s / Bird Grove Farm up for auction …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Spirit of Opposition

Two public meetings have now taken place to discuss the new planning application for Cresswell, which could see nearly 170 extra homes come to the hamlet and a virtual doubling of the present industrial park.
Both meetings saw a virtually unanimous spirit of opposition to the proposals.

Friday’s meeting (organised by the local  VVSM community group) attracted a big name – Bill Cash, our local MP.  Bill was happy to turn up, and he voiced his support for the group.
Hundreds of pounds were also raised by the group, which will go into a fighting fund.
(If you want to join in a public online forum to make suggestions for the fighting fund, both Jacquie and Shelagh, the VVSM organisers, are both also members of the Draycott Facebook group.  Anyone can be a member of the Facebook group, and can ask whatever they want of any other member.)

Meanwhile, the Parish Council also convened a public meeting, ably chaired by district councillor Mark Deaville.
Judging by what was said, the main points of opposition to the proposals will be centred on traffic issues and concerns about areas of contaminated land.

The Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Planning Applications Committee is likely to make the crucial decision at their meeting in mid-December.
Expect a flurry of activity up until then!

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Churches in action

It’s worth remembering that it is Remembrance Sunday this weekend.  Both our local churches will have specific services (see What’s On page for details) if you want to remember our war dead with them.

Grave of Bede Vavasour

Military grave of Bede Vavasour, killed in 1942 aged just nineteen, at St Mary’s Church, showing the RAF symbol

Talking of St Mary’s – the Catholic church in Cresswell -, it’s time for congratulations to them.  The congregation has raised over £2000 so far to pay for a new sound loop recently installed in the church.  That’s only half of what is needed – but everyone at the church is confident the total will be raised.

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Local man’s Zulu Wars knowledge

Many of us know local lad Ian Barlow very well.  You may well have spotted him and his mobile catering van at the Cloggerfest free-music event in Cresswell over the summer.
Ian has a permanent pitch on the Blythe Park base (where he is now to be found right next to the bowling green) – his catering business looks after employees’ food needs by selling burgers and breakfasts every morning seven days a week, as well as lunchtimes in the week.

Anglo-Zulu War display in the National Army Museum in London

Anglo-Zulu War display in the National Army Museum in London

What you may not have realised is that Ian is a Zulu War expert!  The Zulu Wars were fought by the British and native tribes in South Africa towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Ian gives talks on the subject to discussion groups and history clubs – and even brings along historic memorabilia with him…
Who’d have thought??

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Fancy a farm?

If you’ve ever sought a large isolated property, now’s your chance.  The road down to Hilderstone has very few houses along it between Cresswell and the old Bird In Hand pub, but one of them is now coming up for auction.

Bird Grove Farm‘ is a 3 bedroom detached house, which goes under the hammer on November 12 (unless sold by private treaty first of course).  The sale is being handled by Graham Watkins Agents.
If you like a quiet life, this may be the place for you…

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

Join in with the Draycott Christmas Tree Festival

It may seem a little early to be thinking about decorating a Christmas tree, but you’ll need to start thinking now if you want put an entry in this year’s Draycott Christmas Tree Festival.
Any household (or individual!) can join in.

All you have to do is: get a tree; decorate it in whatever way you like, or on any theme you like; and then take it along to St Margaret’s Church in a month’s time.
Your tree will be allocated a space somewhere inside the church, where, alongside all the others, it will be on public display for seven days.

Togetherness

The idea is of course to promote togetherness, at a time of year when we all try to promote a spirit of openness and friendliness.  The festival will not only bring families together as they decorate a tree, but will bring the community together as the public come in to view our creative efforts!

Xmas tree

“Star of wonder, star of night” – one of the Xmas tree entries from the festival last year

The old church should absolutely sparkle in the lights; and an added bonus is that the local schools which are participating are likely to be putting on carol recitals.    Last year, the organisers also provided refreshments (including mince pies) which add even more to the seasonal feeling.

It really should be a great few days.

How to enter

There are a few details, and here they are:
*All local individuals, families, social groups, businesses and schools can enter a tree. You do not have to be a church-goer to enter a tree.
*There is no fee to enter a tree
*It can be an artificial or a real tree; but, if you do have any lights, they must be battery-powered.
*Trees should be up to or around four feet high
*The church will be open for the festival from Saturday, 6th December to Sunday, 14th December – including evenings
*There is no closing date for entry as such, but if it’s felt that the church might get too full, the entry list will be closed.  So – if you’re definitely interested, let the organisers know.
*It’s not a competition!  This is a community event…

Good luck….

For any further information, please contact 01782 396190 or on 01782 396373 or email Pauline Clarke.

Why did councillors walk out of meeting?

At this month’s Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council meeting, held on October 20th, two councillors got up and abandoned the meeting – despite the fact that a hugely important issue which needed their input was due to take place. Why?
The answer is: no one quite knows…

Application to build 168 homes

Over fifty residents had packed the church hall for the meeting – because a major item listed on the agenda was a discussion of the planning application for a new housing estate & business park in Cresswell.  Some 168 homes could be built on the Blythe Park site. Many of the residents, though not all, were bitterly opposed to the plans.

(As it was, the discussion was deferred to next month’s meeting, on November 17th, in order to allow time for a full public meeting and a proper exhibition of the plans – details of that public meeting will be released by the parish council shortly).

Walk-out

The walk-out by the two councillors came about at the start of the evening
just as a member of the public, Shelagh Wood, started video-recording the proceedings.
A new law brought in by the government last month allows for the public to film council meetings.

Councillor John Ford

Cllr John Ford

One of the councillors, John Ford, objected to the filming – but it was pointed out to him that the filming was quite legal.  Mr Ford said that he was “a volunteer” and did not see why he should be filmed. He got up and left, to be followed by the vice-chairman of the council, Gordon Winfield.
The other councillors – Jane Meller, Mark Deaville, Pauline Clarke, Roger Tabbinor and the chairman Tony Fletcher – stayed in their places, as did the two ‘observing’ local district councillors, Colin Pearce and David Trigger.
It’s not clear exactly why the two councillors left.

(The Association of Local Councils already says that, though parish councillors are unpaid, they cannot be classed as ‘volunteers’; councillors have greater responsibilities than a volunteer might, and cannot opt-out as a volunteer might.
Also, district councillors, such as those at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council are also ‘volunteers’ – but SMDC has not objected to the law.)

Because the meeting-quorum was still in force, it’s quite possible that the planning application – crucial though it is – could even have been decided in the two councillors’ absence.

New law on filming

The new law allowing video-recording of councils was brought in by the current government to combat what it has described as secretive local councils which try to block public transparency of their proceedings.

Eric Pickles, the local government minister, has been quoted: “….robust public scrutiny is essential for a healthy local democracy. We have given councils more power, but local people need to be able to hold their councils to account.
“I asked for councils to open their doors, but some have slammed theirs shut, calling in the police to arrest bloggers and clinging to old-fashioned standing orders.
“It was Mrs Thatcher (as a minister) who introduced the right to attend council meetings back in 1960. It is right that we now bring her legacy up to date with the digital age. Councillors should not be shy about the good work that they do.”

Video camera (pic: Wiki Commons)

Controversy surrounds use of the video camera (pic: Wiki Commons)

However, Mr Pickles’ new law has already caused controversy.  While many councils across the country have welcomed the moves toward more openness, some councillors have  reacted angrily: in East Suffolk last month, all the Beyton Village Council members walked out, cancelling their meeting, rather than allow filming.

What next?

No doubt Mr Ford and Mr Winfield will want to explain to electors as soon as they can why they abandoned such an important meeting.
Certainly, if they wish to use the pages of this website to explain their actions, we can assure them they will have as much space as they need.

However, the more important issue is: …what happens at the next meeting?
Shelagh Wood says she will be filming at the next meeting.  She says her motivation is quite simple: as someone very worried about the housing planning application, and a member of the local VVSM Community Action Group, all she wants to achieve is an unchallengeable account of the meeting, so that the main points of the debate can be recorded, and examined later, without misinterpretation caused by faulty memory.

So… will the two councillors leave any future meetings in the same fashion?  Do they even feel they may have to resign from the parish council altogether?  (After all, they can’t get up and leave each and every time someone starts filming a meeting.)

However, the planning debate, which now will take place at the November meeting, will be one that could mark the beginning of irrevocable changes to Draycott-in-the-Moors.
Electors will surely want all their representatives there for a meeting as important as that.

More reading
Gov.uk – Making local councils more transparent and accountable to local people 
Gov.uk – Transparency code for parish councils
Staffordshire Parish Councils Website – New rules on open local government
Independent – Local government can no longer act like Putin, says Pickles 

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: Life-saver funding / Stoke FC player in town / council accounts / new CD

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2014 
News of…:  defibrillator fund-raising well on target / Stoke City player at Draycott Sports Centre / Carol Bradbury releases new CD / want to question the parish council’s accounts? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Life-saving project on track

Many congratulations to Jacquie Leach and Shelagh Wood!  These two residents of Cresswell have been spearheading the efforts to raise money for a community defibrillator – and, after only a few months, are already halfway to their target.

A defibrillator is a complex piece of equipment which could be absolutely crucial if someone has a cardiac arrest.  In such a situation, seconds are vital, so all localities are being urged to have one to hand in the centre of their communities. In an emergency, an ordinary member of the public could use one to help a cardiac-attack victim.
In nearby Fulford for example one is encased on the side of the village hall, while there are already three in Biddulph (!), and in Stone, they have just put up one at the Co-op Supermarket.
Jacquie tells us that the Cresswell one will be fixed on to an exterior wall at the Izaak Walton Inn.

“It’s been hard work” says Jacquie “but well worth it; and we have just passed the £500 mark!”     The cost of putting up a defibrillator is not just in the life-saving equipment itself, but in providing a sturdy case for it, and installing it.

A recent beauty-evening at Shelagh Wood’s house raised nearly £100, and The Rotary Club has donated £50, but most has come from the Wednesday charity-quiz evening at the Izaak Walton.
“I really do urge people to come along to the quiz night,” says Jacquie.  “It is lots of fun!  If you come on your own you’ll be invited to join a team, and you’ll know you’re raising money for a good cause at the same time.
“It could easily be someone in your own family – even you – who will get the benefit of this amazing equipment.”

Talking of charity efforts – congratulations too to the folks from St Margaret’s Church who raised £230 at their Macmillan Coffee Morning.  The cakes were… superb!

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MOTD comes to Draycott

We’re not sure if Gary Lineker dropped in to Draycott, but BBC Match Of The Day cameras were definitely at Draycott Sports Centre where they were filming Stoke City defender Robert Huth last week as he indulged in some tennis at the centre’s courts.

Robert Huth

Robert Huth (pic: Wikimedia Commons)

It was all to publicise the Premier League’s 4 Sport Initiative, which seeks to get young people involved in sports in their local community.  Stoke City FC is working directly with Draycott Sports Centre.

You’ll need to get up early to see Draycott on the telly though, as the feature appears on the BBC’s Sunday breakfast-time edition of Match Of The Day – tune in at 7am on Sunday 19th October.

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New CD from Twinklefingers

Draycott people who attend the ballroom and sequence dances held at the Quick-Quick-Slow Dance Centre in Cresswell will be pleased to hear that Carol Bradbury, who often comes along to provide the music on her keyboard, is releasing a new CD (just in time for Christmas!).

Carol Bradbury

Carol Bradbury

Carol, whose nickname is Twinklefingers, is in huge demand all across north Staffordshire, but especially here in Draycott-in-the-Moors.
We guess she will have copies of her new CD (called You’re My Favourite, costing £10) when she next appears here at the QQS – on October 25th.

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Council finances

The annual accounts from Draycott Parish Council have just been published, and have been posted on the three noticeboards throughout the district. Members of the public do however have a chance to question them right up until October 21st, so if you spotted something in the accounts you’d like to know a little bit more about, don’t hesitate to ask.

The best way to pose your query is to turn up at 7.30pm at the next parish council meeting, and ask it then in the ‘Public Participation’ session.
The next meeting is on Monday October 20th at the Church & Community Hall in Church Lane.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

News: lengthsman post / speed limits / Tai Chi / Labour’s man

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-September 2014 
News of…:  vacancy for a lengthsman / speed limits campaign hots up / Tai Chi classes / Labour’s election candidate …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Is forty too much?

The debate about speed limits in Draycott may be coming to a head.    As we have reported in the past, a few local people would like to see the stretch up the bank from the Draycott Arms (going in the Tean direction) changed from a 40mph limit to a 30mph.
That stretch of road is not only narrow, but has no pavement for around a ten-yard length. Police traffic teams have been in action in the area recently, and, yes, caught a number of speeding motorists…

Road sign near Draycott Arms

Road sign just up from Draycott Arms

So, what’s happening?
Mark Deaville, who as well as being a Draycott parish councillor is also the county councillor responsible for transport issues, has been talking to local newspapers – and told them he has made formal representations to the Highways Department to get the speed-limit at the Draycott Arms lowered.
He tells us that he’ll be meeting highways officers this week to check on how his proposal is being received.

Meanwhile, another Draycott parish councillor, John Ford, said he is starting a petition calling on local people to support the campaign to get the speed limit lowered.  John, who is also landlord at The Draycott Arms, said: “I am not prepared to wait until there are fatalities there. The road there is just like Brands Hatch!”
You’ll find copies of the petition, ready for signing, at his pub.

Watch this space…

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Are you handy?

Draycott Parish Council is looking for a ‘lengthsman’ for this district. The post would be suitable for a person with time on their hands.

But, you may ask, what is a lengthsman??
In fact, it’s an ancient term, but basically a lengthsman is simply a handy-person.  Their principal role is to carry out minor highway maintenance – clearing drainage areas, trimming hedges, keeping signs and local sites maintained, minor painting jobs and that sort of thing.  The lengthsman (who can be male or female) works on their own, usually using their own tools.

Interested?  Contact the Parish Clerk, Mary Edwards – on 01782 394807  or by email.

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Sam’s Labour’s man

Well, you can tell a general election is around the corner.  All the local politicians are doing their utmost to get coverage!
We notice for instance that our local MP, Bill Cash, has suddenly started writing a column for the local newspaper…

Meanwhile, Labour has just announced its candidate for the Stone constituency (Draycott falls into the Stone constituency): a young man called Sam Hale. You may remember Sam as a former member of the UK Youth Parliament (for Cheadle); and as a recipient of the Princess Diana Memorial Award for his service to this community.

Sam Hale

Sam Hale

Expect to see Sam and Bill knocking on our doors sometime soon.

The general election takes place in May next year.  Not only will there be parliamentary elections, but also elections for local councils.
In fact, all seats on Draycott Parish Council are up for grabs – so if you think you might want to stand for this parish next May, it’s worth starting to think about it soon.

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Get fit gently

We forgot to mention the Dojo Centre when we were mentioning the range of local keep-fit classes in a recent post.
As well as all the multifarious classes at the Draycott Sports Centre, the nearby Tatsu Kai Dojo Centre (on Blythe Business Park) also offers a wide range of fitness activities.  Its latest offering is TaiChi on a Tuesday night at 6:30pm for an hour.

TaiChi is very gentle, but, because it calls for concentration, it’s a great way of toning up.  The first lesson is free – so it’s well worth just taking a look.
Contact Tara for more info or just turn up.

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Cloggerfest 2014 success

To all those who said it couldn’t work, we have news for you: the second Cloggerfest free music festival – at Blythe Cricket Club’s ground – was a great day for audience and musicians alike!  Congratulations to organisers Dave & Lee Owen and Ange Heathcote.
For this one day in the year, Cresswell rocked…

Family fun

All the camping spots were sold out by the day, so the pre-festival (Friday) night was a chance for all the campers to relax – and for all the local people to come down and have a drink with them, as well as have a bop in the disco tent.  It was like a reunion as many people saw folk they had not seen for a while…!

Cloggerfest camping

Cloggerfest camping

Fortunately the weather was mild on the Saturday morning, and the family activities went as smoothly as chocolate (as one visitor said).  Zumba dancing sessions, zombie face-painting and crafts stalls were all doing good business.
Much of the profit from the festival will go towards establishing a new community centre/pavilion at Blythe cricket club.

Face-painting - zombie-style

Face-painting – zombie-style

The highlight of the morning however was the gurning competition (one of only two officially registered gurning competitions in the country).

Rob Shaw, Cloggerfest 2014 Gurning Champion

Rob Shaw, Cloggerfest 2014 Gurning Champion

Defending champion Rob Shaw ‘faced’ off over a dozen hopefuls though, and retained his title.

Bands

Many of us thought that the organisers would find it very difficult to keep the fifteen bands on the bill to the running order timings, but amazingly – and despite the bursts of rain – that’s more or less what happened!
The one-thousand audience just sat back and enjoyed what turned out to be a really well-run day.

All the acts came from within a twenty-mile radius, and each and every one was amazingly professional (in our humble opinion).
Hollie Vee & The Hubkaps are a blistering rockabilly outfit and they contrasted with the more rootsy appeal of the Wilcox-Hulse duo. Industrial-noise outfit Jimmy Dammage & Shadow were a late addition to the bill, but performed like they’d been rehearsing for weeks…

Jimmy Dammage

Jimmy Dammage

The two bands who helped create the event – Sons Of Clogger and Headsticks – finished the night with a storm!

Cloggerfest 2015

We’re told that preparations for Cloggerfest 3 are already under way, with the intention to expand even more.
If Cloggerfest 3 can be as friendly and professional as Cloggerfest 2 was, that would be some achievement.

Lee and Dave Owen

Lee and Dave Owen

Lee & Dave Owen, we salute you…!

If you want to see more reviews and more photos from the festival, click the Cloggerfest Facebook page.

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Our library is under threat

If we don’t act now, the future of our nearest library looks grim …  That appears to be the message from campaigners who have been studying the latest proposals for the library service across Staffordshire.
The public has only a month left in which to make its views on the proposals known.

Library shake-up

We all know that libraries are changing.  Once you just went there to borrow a book, read a newspaper, or to study.  But now, there are all sorts of services.  At Blythe Bridge library, the nearest library to Draycott, there are now story-telling sessions, adult education sessions, public-meeting spaces, internet-access computers to use, and even a small art-gallery!

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Libraries must keep changing – especially as they do less book-lending and more of providing e-publications online.  Footfall in libraries is not what it was.
Staffordshire County Council also has to cut its budget by fifteen per cent over the next three years.

So the County Council is redefining its libraries.  The biggest four (now known as ‘Extra’ Libraries) are safe; and fifteen more (known as ‘Core’) will be reviewed.  But the remaining twenty-four (now to be known as ‘Local’) have an uncertain future, and may well have their services broken up or ‘re-assigned’ – and Blythe Bridge Library is in this third, endangered category.

The county council is saying that it hopes local communities, using volunteers, might agree to take on ‘Local’ libraries – or somehow split the current services offered by the library across various local groups.  Or, maybe, under the ‘Local’ idea, it will give us an enhanced mobile-library system, or find a new and smaller building.

Campaign

Of course, local people have not taken the news lying down.  A packed-out meeting last month saw objections flying thick and fast!   Forsbrook Parish Council has taken the lead in a campaign to resist major changes.
(Our own Draycott Parish Council is aware of the proposals, but has yet to take any major stand).

campaign doucument (opens as a WORD document) put out by Forsbrook PC makes interesting reading.  The figures in it show that not only is Blythe Bridge Library more popular than Cheadle Library, it also is considerably cheaper to run. Yet, strangely, Cheadle is safe!

Making views known

Nothing is yet decided.  The current proposals are only proposals; so the County is now ‘consulting’ the public.  (See: Library Future Proposals)
If you have views on the library service, locally or cross-county (or both), now is the time to make them known.
You can find the consultation sheets in any county library (Stoke-on-Trent libraries are separate to all this of course), or, if you prefer, you can fill in the consultation questionnaire online.  Closing date is October 7th.

Forsbrook PC is recommending that you answer Question 33 on the consultation document by ticking ‘Strongly Disagree’.

The sad thing is that questionnaires never quite get to the reality of the situation.
Think about it… with church halls and village halls now locked all the time; and with ‘community corner shops’ less and less in evidence; and with pubs getting more expensive; and with schools forced to exclude ‘outsiders’, where is there for a village community to freely meet and greet each other?  Only the library.

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