Category Archives: community action

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.

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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).

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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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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).

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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.

To see the photos on this page better, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.     Just press the back-button to get back to this page.

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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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: notice-boards / new grants / is knitter back?

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-August 2014 
News of…:  new notice-board in Cresswell / grants for community schemes / is the guerrilla-knitter back? / wildlife project hits a snag / quiet life for newts / tennis for youngsters…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Taking notice in Cresswell

People in Cresswell woke up earlier this month to the sight of their smart new parish council notice-board.  The last one had given way to old age, and had simply fallen down.
It took a while to fund and sort out a new board, but it seems to be worth it.

Cresswell notice board

Cresswell’s smart new notice board

To save the parish council money, three volunteers came forward to say they would install it – which shows great community spirit.  So, thanks to Selwyn & Matthew Edwards and John Clarke, who undertook what turned out to be quite a tough shovel-and-pick job.

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Money for safety

Grants of up to £3000 are available at the moment to any locally-driven scheme which could enhance safety in the community.
The so-called ‘People Power Funds’ could support a Good Neighbour Project for instance, or activities for the young, or even security measures at public sites.

The money is coming from the Staffordshire Police Commissioner’s coffers; the window for this round of applications runs until Sunday 14 September.
If you think you might be interested, a free workshop to explain how it all works takes place at Moorlands House in Leek on the afternoon of Friday 22 August (email Victoria Ellis for details).

More details, including application forms and an animated video about the fund, are available now at the PCC’s website.  But, be aware: to get a grant you’ll probably need your application to be supported by a local police officer– so you may want to chat to our local PCSO Adam Charlesworth in the meantime.  He’s a very nice man!

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Secret knitter… is back?

Congratulations to eagle-eyed Jessica Lunt, who wrote to us saying that she thinks that the ‘secret guerrilla-knitter of Draycott’ may be back.
Guerrilla knitting is the eccentric practice of putting woollen ‘socks’ around public objects, usually by anonymous people, who try not to be seen doing it.  There are half-a-dozen examples in Draycott – though why Draycott is a centre of this practice, no-one knows!

Guerilla knitting at Cresswell

Is this a new instance of guerilla knitting?

Jessica says that when she recently passed the Cresswell sign, near the cricket club, she noticed that one of the little quilted shapes on it seemed relatively new.  The last report of any new ‘guerrilla-knitting’ was back in  2012 when we also put up some photos of the examples.
We checked, and we agree with her:  one of the ‘socks’ on the sign is newer than the rest in the village.
So… is the secret knitter back?  We shall have to wait and see.

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Wildlife hiccup

Talking of notice-boards, the Cresswell Community Group reports that its work to get a ‘village-description’ board erected near the Izaak Walton bridge was held up temporarily.
The board they propose will be very similar to ones in nearby villages, but, in this instance will display some of the various wildlife species to be found in Cresswell.

Although the CCG has raised the money to pay for the design, making and installation of the board, there were fears that such a board might require planning permission.   And, as a planning-permission application costs nearly £400 – which is a prohibitive amount of money -, the CCG have had to spend some time investigating what the actual planning status of such a board is.
However, they told us: “We are now pretty confident of going ahead!!”

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And lastly

A glance at a recently approved planning application made us smile.  The Moorlands planning committee recently approved a request to build an outdoor equestrian site at Marsh Lodge (on Uttoxeter Road) – but said that a condition of approval was that all activities there would have to cease … whenever the local newts are breeding.
I wonder how long newts take for their breeding time?

Meanwhile don’t forget that if you have kids at home these holidays looking for something to do that Draycott Sports Centre is running Saturday morning tennis coaching on 16th and 23rd August.  It’s pay-and-play – so you don’t have to be a member of the centre already.

***
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.

Fayre 2014 – full results & pictures

As the last details trickle in, it looks like the Draycott Fayre 2014 will have surpassed even last year’s record takings.  It’s believed – though the full accounts have yet to be completed – that the event could have raised a staggering £10,000 altogether.
The money raised has come not just from the fayre itself but also from a fund-raising night hosted by the rock band Jacque Rabbit.

Vintage car

Many vistors came to see the hundreds of vitntage cars and engines on show

As the name – St Margaret’s Summer Fayre – suggests, the day is specifically organised to raise money to pay for the maintenance of the village’s parish church – which is over 700 years old, and in constant need of running repairs.   A worthy cause.

Raffle winners

Owl winner

Pauline Clarke (left) presents the owl to Annette

As we mentioned in our review of the day, one of the big attractions at the fayre was the live-sculpting feature – in which local boy Anthony Hammond created a wooden statue of an owl before our very eyes.
Her raffled it off for charity; and the winner turned out to be Annette Smith from Hollinsclough.  Annette was one of the exhibitors, who had brought along her red London taxi to show in the vintage-car rally – and she was really chuffed to be able to take the owl home with her.

If you enjoyed Anthony Hammond’s work, we can recommend that you take a trip to see his Cedar Tree carving at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s base near Stafford. The piece is being billed as the largest chainsaw carving in Staffordshire…

Jacque Rabbit 2014

A night with the band Jacque Rabbit also raised funds for the church repairs

The other results people have been waiting for are those of the Grand Raffle.  Click here to see the full list of winners.
Congratulations to first-prize winner Wendy Mears: she’s won a full day for her and a group of friends to learn and experience wilderness-skills & bush-craft at the local Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre.  The day is led by ‘OWL’ Forest-School instructors.
(I wonder if Wendy will learn enough to be able to help us to decide how best to cook the red-currants in our garden – before the birds eat them all…)

Pictures

Thanks also to all the people who have emailed in photos of the day to us. Though we had enough photos to create a small gallery of photos immediately, the additional pictures have helped to make the gallery much larger.

Viking conflict

The ‘Vikings’ enjoyed themselves with a number of battles

To see the full gallery of photos of the day – click here. (Don’t forget to select ‘Slideshow’, then ‘Show Info’ & ‘Full screen’ if you want the best viewing experience).

And that’s not all…

Just a reminder now that the good times never stop in Draycott district!

The next local big family event is at the end of August, when the cricket club has its Open Day & Music Festival at its ground in Cresswell.
The main event, on Saturday 30 August, features includes face/body painting, circus skills, bouncy castle, magic, balloon modelling and stalls… and even incorporates a ‘gurning’ championship!  More details on our What’s On page.
Don’t forget to put the date in your diary…

NEWS: Parish & College clash / Clerk vacancy / white posts / record land price

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2014 
News of…:  Parish Council calls for action on Draycott College / white posts protect verges / record prices for Draycott pastureland / no takers yet for parish clerk job / cricket summer school for youngsters…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Draycott Moor in the news

Despite the fact that the school has broken up for the summer, Draycott Moor College is in the news.
On the one hand, it is generously throwing open its facilities to the community; but on the other hand it is in Draycott Parish Council’s black books.  The parish council would like to see the college admonished…

Draycott College play-area gates

Gates – now unlocked

First, the good news.   After years of trying to get the parish council to take responsibility for the small playing field on its site, the college has simply decided to let the community make up its own mind.  It is leaving the gates to the small play-area unlocked – and thus the community can make full use of it.

Draycott College play area

Draycott College play area

One local resident in Draycott Old Road told us: “I am so pleased for the teenagers here, and for the children, that the play-area is open. But we will need to watch out; and hope no bad elements start to use it.”

The other news is that the parish council has decided to write to the Staffordshire Education Committee to ask it to review its attitude to the college.
The college, which is privately-run, takes referrals for troubled children.  On the site, a small number of such children (fewer than twenty), who arrive from from all over the county, are educated.

Despite the fact that an open forum between residents and school staff was held only recently, the councillors are concerned about the number of anti-social incidents in and around the school.
At their meeting, some councillors expressed a desire to see the school shut down.

(This article has been edited since it was first published because of differing opinions about what was actually said at the meeting)

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Time to apply

It seems that no one wants to take up the post of Clerk to Draycott Parish Council.

Although the post pays £250 a month (working from home in your own time), there have been few applicants since the present clerk, Mary Edwards, announced her intention to retire.
So the post has been re-advertised, though applications should be in by the end of this month.

For more details, email Mary or phone her on 01782 394807

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White posts

If you’ve walked through Cresswell recently, you’ll notice that three or four properties now have white posts in their grass verges.

White posts on Sandon Road

White posts on Sandon Road

The posts are a response to the thorny problem of car-owners parking on verges.  (See our previous article about the issue).  The County Highways Department placed them there as an experiment, in response to a request from the local VVSM community action group.

If you’re interested in having such posts outside your home, or just want to know more, just email VVSM.

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Record prices for land

As we mentioned in a previous post, Newton Park Farm, which is at the top end of Cresswell Old Lane – and was the home of the late Ken Shelley – was being sold at auction.

What’s interesting is that the pastureland associated with the house – some 27 acres – went for a very high price indeed – of almost half-a-million pounds!   That represents a staggering amount of almost £18,000 per acre.

The Leek Post & Times, which reported the auction, commented in an article that the price per acre is quite possibly a record high-price for this district.

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School for cricket

Finally, this wonderful weather we’re having is proving very beneficial to Blythe Cricket Club in Cresswell.
The first team are really going great guns, and are not far off a promotion place – possibly helped by the support that’s turned out in the lovely sunshine.

The club’s ‘professional’, the international bowler Upul Indrasiri, must also be enjoying the weather, as he’s decided to set up a cricket summer school for youngsters aged from 7 to 19 (both boys and girls).
The first sessions take place at the club next week, although there is a second set of sessions in August.  For full details, and how to apply, see our What’s On pages)

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A good day at Draycott Fayre 2014

Draycott Fayre 2014 had a hard act to follow after the huge success of the fair last year – but, wow, it managed it brilliantly!
John Clarke and his fantastic team of volunteers not only managed to keep the rain off (how did they do that??) but to put on an event that was thoroughly enjoyable.

Highlights

The Y Ddraig Viking re-enactment group were, once again, the outstanding element of the day.  At times very funny, at times extremely bloodthirsty (!), they even managed, in their encampment, to cook up a very decent barley stew…   Their versions of hockey, and of ten-pin bowls, were a revelation.
However, they seemed not to have learnt the lessons of 2013.  After being humiliated last year, when they challenged the children of Draycott to battle, they foolishly sought revenge.  Once again, they were annihilated.  Very sad…

Children charge!

Children charge!      (pic: JClarke)

In the marquee, the music from jazz clarinettist Eric Newton kept the party swinging; and the Draycott Women’s Institute sold out of home-made jam by 1pm!  (Luckily, there was still marmalade).

Out in the arena, special congratulations must go to Forsbook Girl Guides.  They helped master-of-ceremonies John Beardmore to organise the country games, and sportingly took on a men’s side in the grand tug-o-war.  The men, who looked very complacent after leading the series 2-0, were quite shaken when the Guides stormed back to take the last rubber.  Well done, ladies!

As usual too, there were some fascinating cars buses engines lorries and more in the vintage vehicle rally.  Organiser Tom Sales even managed to get a taxi to come along this year.

Meanwhile, out on the main road, a 1950s red double-decker bus, staffed by members of the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society, plied its trade up and down the local lanes, picking up ‘passengers’, and taking them to and from the fayre.

Photos

An album of lots of photos of the day can be found by clicking here.
When you go to the link, just click the play button to start the slideshow; then we suggest you set the speed at ‘slow’, and don’t forget to click the ‘Show Info’ button to see the captions.  Have fun with the memories.

Special mentions…

Who were the hardest workers on the day?  The dozens of brave volunteers.
Most of them are resident in Draycott and surrounding districts, so it was a truly local set-up.

High up the list of hard workers must come the staff of Draycott Moor College, led by Lee  Stanford, who ran the barbecue.  The queue for their wares never stopped, and, despite bringing in lots more food than last year, they still had sold out by 3pm!
On the bar Neil Archibald (Archie) and his partner Anita Borasinski had stepped in at the last minute to run it – and the pair managed to keep their cool all afternoon, despite never taking a rest.
Meanwhile, in the tea-tent, the Wibberley extended-family made pot after pot after pot of tea (like it had gone out of fashion!).  It’s even possible they made record takings – of around £500-£600.
And John Beardmore of course.  Fortunately for all of us, he is feeling on good form at the moment, and he made everything flow smoothly.  We all feared the worst when he started to sing – but the grey clouds passed on, and the sun came out again. (…Only joking..!)

Nominate your favourite…

But, there were lots more moments and lots more heroes – which we haven’t mentioned.  So, why not nominate your favourite?
Just use the comments-form (at the bottom of this page) – and let the world know just what you thought of the day and its events…

Also, why not let us have your photos?  If you have two or three that you think reflect elements of the day, well, just email them to us, and we will try to put them onto our photo gallery.

A good cause

There can be no doubt that thousands of pounds were raised – though the final tally will not be known for a while.

And the profits all go to the repair and maintenance of our medieval & historic church of St Margaret’s.  When so much of the history of Draycott village is disappearing, the project to keep St Margaret’s standing and available to our children is surely a good one.
(If it’s been a while since you saw the beautiful interior of the church, don’t forget that the church is open to the public on Saturday August 2nd and Saturday 6th September form 2pm-4pm).

The result of the raffles will be known soon.  We’ll let you know the results in a future post on this site.
If you are wondering what happened to the vintage plane that was due to do a fly-over, well, so is everybody else. The thinking is: it might have got lost!

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If you have a comment to make about the day – add it in the little comment box further down this page

Spot some wildlife…

Being surrounded by large patches of countryside, and with most of us having a small garden at least, Draycott-in-the-Moors is a great place for anyone wanting to help the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with its Wildlife Sighting project, which it is doing in partnership with the Staffordshire Ecological Record.

barn-owl-moon

Could you spot a barn owl? (pic: Darin Smith)

You don’t have to be an expert to help; and all it requires of you is that you  fill in a short form each time you see a particular species of animal or insect or bird, or even fish.
It could be a great summer activity to do with the kids, or grand-kids too…

It’s not just a paper exercise either.  Your forms will go to making up a species-distribution list, which is then used by planning authorities, among others, to map the ecology of an area.

Give your help…

Each time you spot, say, a woodpecker, all you have to do is record: the type of the species; the location (i.e. where you saw it); and the date of the sighting. Easy!

Of course, it’s not always that simple identifying the type of species, but if you have a good camera, take a picture and then just email the photos to enquiries@staffs-ecology.org.uk and they will identify it for you.

The Wildlife Trust is especially interested in ‘protected’ and ‘priority’ species, i.e. ones  listed on the Staffordshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), so if you spot any of those, well-done to you…!

Cresswell

The Cresswell Community Group is already taking part in the project; and at some stage hopes to put up a board in the hamlet listing some of the more interesting wildlife to be found here.

otter

Are there ever otters in the River Blithe? (pic: Darin Smith)

CCG told us that they already have sightings recorded of fauna such as the otter, water vole, shrew, stoat, weasel, badger, hedgehog, bats and brown hare, though they are still waiting to record a dormouse…
The great crested newt also has habitat in the area.

In the bird world, the CCG say people should be able to spot the barn owl, bullfinch, cuckoo, dunnock, starling, house sparrow, kingfisher, lapwing, reed bunting, skylark, snipe, song thrush, tree sparrow, and yellowhammer.
You’ll be very fortunate though to spot golden plovers and wheatears – though there have been rare sightings.

Jacquie from the CCG told us:  “Cresswell is a good area for the project as it has areas of wetland that species such as snipe and curlew like. It also has areas of farmland that are not heavily cultivated, which attracts skylarks and lapwings.
“In fact… it would be brilliant if we could have hides in the area so that people could watch and study the birds especially!”

Remember – each record of a sighting helps to build up an ecological picture of Draycott / Cresswell / Totmonslow – so it’s all worth it.

*   For more information on the project, see the Recording Wildlife Factsheet (opens as WORD document)
For information on some fauna you are likely spot, click here
To find a sightings form online, click here
To download (and then print off) a form, click Species Recording Card (opens as pdf)

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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).