NEWS: democracy costs / Xmas a-coming / dangerous road / happy pubs

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-October 2013
We have news of:  high costs of the local bye-election; Xmas presents possibilities, and bonfire events; some very happy pubs; and, sadly, no improvements for a dangerous road stretch.

(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – – –
Expensive democracy

One of the most astounding things to have come out of the recent Draycott Parish Council bye-election was the staggering bill.  The election – at which only around 200 people voted – cost nearly £3,500!   This is the amount that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council officers charged for organising the whole thing.

One of the highest charges within that total was a bill for nearly a thousand pounds just for the postal votes…  When one thinks there were only eighty postal votes cast altogether, that comes to a stunning £12 amount for each postal vote.
We know democracy is worth paying for – but that does seem rather a lot.

Our parish councillors are so amazed by these costs that they are considering putting in an appeal.  What they have done in the meantime is ask for a full break-down of the postal voting costs.
It’ll be interesting to see what SMDC say.

Incidentally, you should have had a letter to your household by now, with the usual annual registration-to-vote form.
There’s no deadline as such by which to get the form in, but they say it’s a good idea to get it in sooner rather than later.
For more information on registering to vote, click here.

– – – –
Get ready to celebrate

It’s that time of year again; so the next two months are going to be a busy time for most of us.

In fact you can start buying your Xmas presents now – by going along to the Draycott Christmas Fair this weekend!   Find the details for the fair on our What’s On Page (where you’ll be able to see more about all the local bonfires this weekend too).

Meanwhile, local volunteers at St Mary’s Church are busy collecting old Christmas cards and birthday cards in order to make charity calendars. If you do have some old cards, would you drop them off, properly secured, at the church?

Also, the Cheadle Animal Society  – which finds and looks after lost and abandoned pets in the area, including in Draycott – say they already have their charity New Year calendar available for sale on their website.

Cheadle Animal Society cats

Poppy and William are two of the cats rescued by Cheadle Animal Welfare Society

However, if you prefer to buy a calendar in person, why not go along to the society’s ‘Winter Wonderland Fair’ on Saturday 9th November?  Details for that on our What’s On Page.

– – – –
Happy … hours

Another great Xmas present (as far as we are concerned!) is the news that the Draycott Arms pub has started offering not just a sixty-minute ‘Happy Hour’, but a happy-hour that lasts from 2pm-6pm from Monday to Friday!
During this ‘happy-period’ at the pub, draught beer – including guest beers – is just £2 a pint.  Hurrah.

A group of us have decided to call these afternoons the ‘Surf-Sup-Scan’ afternoons.  Because the pub has free wi-fi, one can ‘surf’; because the beer is cheap, one can ‘sup’; and because the pub provides books & magazines to read in the public-bar, one can ‘scan’.
So – surf-sup-scan… all at the same time…

And, talking of pubs, we noticed this curious sign (below) plonked on a verge on Uttoxeter Road and pointing toward Cresswell.

Sign on Uttoxeter Road

Follow the sign to meet the folk group

It turns out that the sign was promoting the regular (free) Wednesday appearances of the local acoustic band ‘Bear Withers’ at The Hunter Pub in southern Cresswell.   BW are known just as much for their terrible jokes (!) as for their terrific music, but it’s worth enduring the jokes for the very good music.

Wednesdays is also cribbage night at The Hunter, when the pub-team takes part in matches in the Blythe Bridge District Cribbage League.  The next crib night there is Wednesday 20th November.

– – – –
Dangerous stretch stays dangerous

Finally, some – frankly – depressing news.

Our local Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council started the political year making four promises to the electorate.  Sadly, it will not be able to fulfil one of its promises.

The parish council has been pushing hard for some ‘step-ins’ to be created on the 100-yard stretch of road between the Izaak Walton Pub and the Blythe Cricket Club in Cresswell.
It’s a dangerous length of road because it narrows significantly at that point, and there is no pavement.
(We once saw a poor young woman push a buggy up along there; and we were really concerned for her in case suddenly two cars might appear, because there wouldn’t have been room for all of them…)

Cresswell Lane at Izaak Walton Farm

The step-ins would have been cut into the raised verge/bank under this wall.

The road is so narrow there that a pavement cannot be created – but step-ins, cut into the bank, every few yards or so would have been some relief, at least.

However, the highways authority has said no.

Chris Mitchell (Staffordshire County Council’s Community Highway Liaison Manager) has delivered his report – which claims that any digging into the bank may cause the brick wall overlooking the bank to collapse.
To be honest, it is true that the wall, which borders the Izaak Walton Farm property, is already bowing and shows signs of movement.
We took the featured photo only yesterday; and it looks unstable to us even.

Oh well.  Anyone got any other ideas?

To comment on any of the items on this page, or suggest some new ones for future posts,  just use the comments box near the bottom of this page.   (You do not have to leave your email address, which is always kept private anyway, but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback).

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5 responses to “NEWS: democracy costs / Xmas a-coming / dangerous road / happy pubs

  1. Rebuild the wall?

    A footpath all the way on that side would be the best solution and I believe Mr and Mrs Toft have offered that land – and suggested this themselves in the past.
    Obviously it would mean the wall being rebuilt further back.

    Fr David Hartley


  2. Surely the Parish Council should have been aware of the costs?
    They said that the election cost would be between £1,500 and £2,000 and the evidence is in their minutes.

    They appear to be out of touch, perhaps because they have relied on co-option first and running an election second in the past.
    Until there is fair representation on the Parish Council I think you will find that an election will be called for again in 2015.



    • The information on costs was supplied from Staffordshire Moorlands at Leek. They gave the costs in line with a national election (in which the cost of an election is split between the the Parish and National funds).
      Unfortunately, for a local election ALL the costs are born by the Parish Council. So if you are looking for a scapegoat, look in the direction of Leek.



  3. Democracy must win

    I read with amazement that the Parish Council are considering an appeal to SMDC regarding the cost of the election.
    I have a postal vote and thanks to democracy I took up my legal right to cast my vote. The law gives everyone who qualifies that same said right.

    We live in a democracy thank goodness and it’s a small price to pay for our freedom. We have free speech, unlike many countries one could mention, and so in this matter democracy won the day.



    • I agree with you that democrarcy must be preserved, even if it is expensive.
      But, to be fair to the parish council, one of their jobs is to ensure that the electors of this parish get fair value for money, and all they are tryign to establish is whether SMDC is charging a ‘fair’ price. I would support them in trying to find that out.

      So, I think there are two different issues here.



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