NEWS: choking weed / council surgeries / Colours memories? / solar farm latest / kiosk question

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late October 2015
News of…:  solar farm application withdrawn / do you have memories of Blythe Colours? / the balsam weed choking the river / parish councillor to hold discussion sessions  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Halloween Dance. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Remember Blythe Colours?

Ex-employees of the Blythe Colour Works factory will be interested to know that there is a Blythe-Colours ‘memories’ session in Cheadle in a fortnight.

You’ll remember that over a hundred years of colour-making came to an end in Cresswell last year, when Johnson-Matthey finally upped sticks and left the Blythe Park site.  Johnson-Matthey had bought the Colour Works back in 1963 when the site was at the height of its production, but dropping demand had seen the workforce shrink and shrink over the years.
However, thousands of local people worked at the Colours at one time or another down the years, so the mention of the place still brings back memories.

Blythe Colours offices

This proud 1930s office building on the business park at Cresswell was the headquarters of the Blythe Colours operation

One thing that was good was that Johnson Matthey passed all the Cresswell site archives over to the Cheadle History Centre earlier this year, so that historians who want to study local industry would have full access to the files.

However… lots of the archive material is not properly labelled; and this is where former employees can help.
If you worked at the Colours site – or someone in your family did – would you be happy to go along to the session and try to identify the faces in photos, take a guess at what year posters were created, or even try to remember who was who down the years?
The session at Cheadle History Centre (in Cheadle High Street) is open to all; and takes place on Friday 13 November from 11am to 3pm.  If you can’t get along on the day, email us – and History Centre volunteers will try to get to see you instead!

– – –
Planning news…… again

In Draycott & Cresswell, planning matters seem to come up nearly every month!
The last big application here was for a solar-panels complex at Draycott Cross – which was supposed to have been discussed at last week’s Staffordshire Moorlands Council planning-committee meeting.  However, according to the Moorlands Planning Committee agenda, the application was withdrawn at the last minute.
The proposal didn’t look like it was ever going to get approval, so it may well be that the applicants (Solstice Renewables) have decided to rethink their plans – and may submit them in slightly altered form in the future.

As for the other big planning controversy, the question of the 168 new homes for Cresswell – which has still not got full approval for its S106 ‘community conditions’ – this is still something that some residents think can be defeated, even at this late stage.
The VVSM community action group has pulled together a lot of concerned local people and is pressing on with its campaign to stop the development in its tracks.  They are busy fund-raising right now!
To see the latest updates on their campaign, click here.

– – –
Weeds in the river

The Churnet Valley Partnership, which looks after the natural ecology of the Churnet, keeps sending us emails about the “threat of Himalayan Balsam”, a weed which spreads like wildfire, and can choke up water-courses.
We didn’t realise just how prolific this plant is until we had a look at the flow of the River Blithe under Cresswell Bridge last week.  The river is struggling to get along.

Himalayan Balsam on River Blithe`

Himalayan Balsam on River Blithe at Cresswell

The district council sometimes organises working parties to try to clear the weed from certain areas; and you can see why…

– – –
Let’s talk

Roger Holdcroft, one of the new Draycott parish councillors elected in May, is keeping his election promise to try to reach out to local people.  He’s decided that he will hold an open session every third Monday of the month at the church hall from 6.45pm-7.15pm, when he will be available for chat, discussion, general queries etc.
A number of parish councils (and MPs) hold these ‘surgeries’, so it’s good to see a parish councillor in Draycott making a similar effort.
Let’s hope a few other councillors will join him at the session, and so keep their election promises too.

Talking of the parish council, a petition came before the last parish council meeting requesting the demolition of the phone-box in the Draycott lay-by (opposite the Draycott Arms).
Of course, such a decision is not up to the parish council, as the kiosk is still owned by BT, but, if they did decide to support the petition, that would add a lot of weight to the request.
What do you think?  Should the phone-box be taken down?

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