NEWS: VVSM end / Anthony exhibits / best to Dave / trees success

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-December 2017
In this post we have news of…: VVSM action group disbands / Anthony Hammond exhibition / Dave Trigger’s operation / Xmas Tree fest goes well…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of carol-singing get-togethers!!..  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
VVSM no more

One bit of news that residents may not welcome, but will certainly be welcomed by all the developers who want a bit of Draycott, is that the local community-action group VVSM has decided to disband (see their announcement).
It seems like not enough people were coming forward to help keep the group running, and the weight of work was just too much for the few people left.

It’s a great shame, as VVSM can rightly claim much of the credit for the fact that, back in 2009, the developers who wanted to build a gas power station in Cresswell eventually withdraw their application.
The group went on to hire legal teams to fight the next big problem, the Blythe Park housing estate application, and managed to expose an awful lot of facts that had been kept hidden and even misreported, thus slowing down the progress of those plans.
They also contributed to the general life of the community, installing a defibrillator in Cresswell among other achievements.

However, as VVSM say in their latest post, it does seem as though everyone in the district, from householders to politicians, now just think that there is very little that can be done about development issues… and have given up. This may explain why no new members have come forward.

It may be something we regret though. The housing-estate at Blythe Vale has now been approved as well the one at Blythe Park, so the developers will now next be looking hungrily at Cresswell ridge (on the skyline above Uttoxeter Road) where outline planning permission for further development is already approved.
Without VVSM in place, those developers will certainly have a much easier ride.

– – –
Fun with trees

Congratulations to Pauline & John Clarke, the organisers of the Draycott Christmas Tree Festival. Once again, they created an event that really did try to pull the local community together – and there really aren’t enough of such events in Draycott.

Among the groups that decorated, themed, and submitted trees were the Draycott Women’s Institute, the local cricket club, the bellringers group, Forsbrook School, the Draycott Brownies and more. Draycott Manor School did the event a compliment by putting in four trees!
The most thoughtful tree (we think) was the one from Forsbrook Primary, which was a Poet-Tree (geddit?) with poems written by the children hanging from the branches.

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However, as usual, it’s a shame that more groups, families and businesses did not take part.
Community spirit does seem to be declining in Draycott, especially compared to all the wonderful things happening in the villages surrounding us. What can be done to improve it?

– – –
Anthony gets exhibited

It’ll soon be the kids’ holidays, so if you’re looking for a quick trip out, why not try Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum? There is lots of stuff for kids there.
But the reason we mention the museum particularly is because local man, Anthony Hammond, has an exhibition on there at the moment; it runs until January 8th.

Anthony Hammond soldier sculptureAnthony specialises in carving sculptures out of tree-trunks, which he does with a specially adapted electric saw. Many of us will have seen him doing his stuff at the Draycott Summer Fayre.
He was recently in the papers for a fantastic carving of a World War One soldier (see right), which you can also see at Newcastle.
Well worth a visit.

Incidentally lots of you ask after his grandmother, local-legend Betty Hammond. Apparently, she is doing well at the moment, even if she is less mobile than she was. This Christmas will be her 104th!

– – –
Best wishes

One person who has been sadly absent from village activity for quite a while is Dave Trigger, one of the three councillors who represent this district on Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

Dave has a wealth of knowledge about local government and about engineering (his specialist subject) and he often brings a lot of common sense to the table whenever he has got along to a Draycott Council meeting in the past.

He has faced a major operation, which – everyone hopes – will go some way to getting him back on his feet.
If you still haven’t completed your Xmas card mail-out, you could add him to it…

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10 responses to “NEWS: VVSM end / Anthony exhibits / best to Dave / trees success

  1. VVSM & Blythe Vale

    It is a shame to see the VVSM group disband as they have been such an asset to the local community.

    However I must also make comment in regards to the fingers that have been pointed against the PC from some VVSM members stating they have not supported the local community in regards to the Blythe Vale housing development plans.
    People forget this is not in our parish and our PC have zero bearing in the decision. They have, and recorded openly, shown their disgust in the plans and application and have done all they can to make the argument-against for our parish.
    Bittersweet IMHO
    Lee Warburton


    • Lee,
      Blythe Vale development is right on the border of Draycott parish, and inside what most people would call Draycott village. Our parish council has the right and the duty to comment in such a situation.
      Secondly, the parish council DOES have an influence, as the councillors are expected to make a full & vigorous response on behalf of residents if it’s believed a planning application will affect them. This response goes back to SMDC and is (in theory at least) taken very seriously.

      Also, the parish council has failed down the years to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, which would have protected us better from greedy developers. I understand (a bit late in the day!) this may happen – though sometime next year.
      JK (edited)


      • Blythe Vale - for & against

        I do understand that the development is on the border of our parish and I for one will have a multi-view of the said development.

        For one, I am all for the development, as we live in a very very stagnant parish, and as a realist it will happen one day regardless of whether we like it or not, but secondly I am strongly against the proposed access and the development’s allocations, especially the so called sound blocking flats.

        However, regardless of how much our Parish council may beat the drum, ultimately SMDC has the decision. Yes our Parish council can do something, but not in the same capacity as the Forsbrook PC, to which I am not pointing the finger at. I just want to defend our PC as they endlessly have the finger pointed at them very unjustly.

        Yes a neighbourhood plan could of been introduced earlier, but it would not of affected the Blythe Vale development, which would not have been within our NP boundaries.

        No doubt if people do have an objection they have had numerous opportunities to voice it with attending and voicing their concerns at a PC meeting. I attend PC meetings where I can and as those few (regular 4/5 people) will know, not many people have stood up and voiced their opinion. Yes there are restrictions – however there are numerous way to voice these opinions.

        From the number of people I know in the village there seems to be a majority of opinions very similar to my own – for the development but against the plans behind the development, access etc
        Lee Warburton


        • Lee, I respect your opinions and your efforts in our community. To me, I wish there were more people like you in this district.
          The question is: what use are the parish council to us? If, as you say, there is very little they can do, then why do we bother with them at all? The parish council takes almost £10,000 every year from our small community in tax, but if they do nothing or very little, are they worth the money? It would be better spent on area improvements.

          In fact, I do not believe that parish councils are powerless, but it does need vibrant and energetic councillors to make them work – which we do not, with a couple of honourable exceptions, have now in Draycott.
          I honetsly hope that people like you will stand at the next election, and be successful, and create a new local council that can achieve things – and let the old guard retire.
          Mark S


  2. My personal thoughts with regards to VVSM is that it is such a shame to see a group fighting the local developments disband.
    However I also feel that there was not enough openness with regards to where the financial support went when the parishioners opened their wallet to support he group. I have yet to see a single ledger for where all of the money raised was spent. As an action group, and with the figure raised, this should be standard procedure and is my personal reason for no longer offering support.


    • VVSM finances, reply

      Dear Anonymous
      VVSM publishes annual accounts, whcih are audited by an external examiner. These accounts can be seen on the VVSM website.
      What esle would you like to know?
      VVSM supporter


      • VVSM finances (3)

        It would be nice to have visual of the audit and also, as I have never seen them, documents showing where the spend has actually gone. The least that people could expect instead of just a basic account sheet.


        • VVSM finances(4)

          Dear Anonymous
          Are you saing ou want to see each and every receipot published on the internet? I can’t think of any other voluntary group that does that.
          Teh annual accounts are published every year on the VVSM website.
          However, the independent external examoiner of the annual accounts does see every recipt of coures. If you wish, contact the VVSM chair and she will give you a contact for the extrenal examiner, and you can make enquiries of them if you are interested.
          VVSM supporter


  3. Neighbourhood Plan

    Regarding VVSM. As you say this group really did our community proud in gathering information and lobbying to stop the Gas PS proposal.
    The lack of similar success against these Housing plans is no detriment to the commitment of all those who supported VVSM, it is just a sign of the times: SMDC does not feel obliged to back down to residents, especially when house-building is the favourite hobby-horse of Central Government.
    To make the best out of the situation we parishhioners must regroup around the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan and work together to produce a document which will hopefully curtail any future unsustainable levels of development that the Planners would otherwise try and inflict upon Draycott.


  4. Dave Trigger has been missed from the Parish Council meetings. One reason for being unable to attend that he mentioned was the terrible condition of Church lane, which jarred his spine when travelling on it.
    Cllr Gordon Winfield has taken the lead in dealing with fixing this and, with additional local funding, the work could go ahead to put this infrastructure problem right.


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