Second estate for Draycott

It now looks likely that work in Draycott on a second large housing estate – Blythe Vale (or ‘Blythe Fields 2’ if you like) – will start next year. St Modwen, the developers building the two estates, say the new site will hold around 200 homes, making it almost twice as big as their current site.
When the two combined sites are finished, the population of main Draycott will jump by a huge fifty per cent… and when added to the forthcoming planned estate in Cresswell means that 600 new homes are about to appear in our small district.

The patch of blue is the Blythe Fields estate, currently being built. The patch of red is the proposed new Blythe Vale estate. There is no entry-exit from the red area except through the blue area

There is still a process to go through of course. This is the schedule:
1 – Community consultation by St Modwen (this took place in the first fortnight of May)
2 – a Statement of Community Engagement will be issued by St Modwen (a summation of the consultation comments & responses)
3 – St Modwen submits a planning application (to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council)
4 – Staffs Moorlands asks for comments
5 – Staffs Moorlands Council Planning Committee considers the application
6 – if approved, work starts on the new estate in 2022

Can it be stopped? Tough.
Any community opposition faces massive obstacles – basic permission for development on this site was granted decades ago; developers are being backed by the government to build as much as they can; Staffs Moorlands has such a slack housing plan that it is regularly approving huge developments like this; and our local Draycott Village Council has barely made a squeak of protest to such large plans over the last ten years, making it virtually complicit.
(There is likely also even more development to come after this, as forthcoming phases, which will stretch construction right along to Cresswell, are already earmarked).

Green credentials

St Modwen, as befits a huge company, have done a very professional job in its presentations so far, and what they are really stressing is how ‘green’ and people-friendly their latest proposal is.

The proposed new estate – the green circles are trees. The bottom right corner is where the playground and orchard will go. The grey line at the bottom is the A50, but there is no access to it

As you can see from the diagram (above), there will be trees everywhere, with even a plantation-orchard in the bottom south-east corner. St Modwen claim that there will be “maximised biodiversity on the site”.
Although there is no shop or community centre, there are open spaces galore, jogging routes, and even a children’s play area (these spaces are ‘public’, so anyone from the wider Draycott community can use them as well).
A new, extensive drainage system underlines the estate’s ‘sustainability’.

“Nothing can be done”

A few of us have been doing our best to try to ensure that the community’s voice is heard concerning these proposals despite of the weight of the powers before us. Which is why it was very disappointing to hear Draycott Council’s view, expressed during its meeting on May 4th. The councillors simply reiterated the same old comment: “there’s nothing we can do”. No ideas, no insights, no leadership, no action plan – just the same empty words that we hear too much from politicians. They looked completely out of their depth. (Slightly oddly, the longest speech was about events in the village thirty years ago…).

It’s true that, because the council and the community have failed to act in the past, the development itself is probably a done-deal, but – of course some action can be taken. It is just nonsense to say that nothing can be done…

If the councillors, working with the community, could show some energy and drive, they could at least make a bid for community partnerships in the way that the new spaces are run. Traffic management is also an issue – all 350 homes will be using the same exit-entry point onto Uttoxeter Rd. Also, ensuring sufficient low-income housing is in the mix is another urgent area of attention.
Those who like to despair will say such that any attempts will yield nothing – but… we shouldn’t just roll over & die … should we?

By an odd alignment of council boundaries, most (not all) of the new development will fall into Forsbrook Council’s planning area. However, as the ‘protector’ of Draycott at large, Draycott Council’s views must be given full weight by the planning authority and the developer.

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6 responses to “Second estate for Draycott

  1. Woodlands Lane issue

    I think the only challenge to this new estate will be a strange, small legal one.
    During the recorded consultation meeting held on-line, the St Modwen lead spokesman stated categorically that the new spine road to phase 2 would ‘not cross Woodlands Lane’. I spoke to him a few days afterwards and this is the deal: St Modwen can ask for planning permission in their land and have it approved. But Phase 2 can ONLY be accessed by crossing Woodlands Lane if they do not secure ownership of the rectangular field at the bottom of the plan. This becomes a legal issue rather than anything to do with planning law.
    The small section of land that would need to be used to create the spine road is owned by the residents of Woodlands Lane, but there is no clear ownership. This could be a legal nightmare if this is legally challenged as… who would they approach to seek purchase, or agreement to use, this small section of land (and this is crucial to their plans)?
    I don’t think there is anything that can be done to stop the planning approval. BUT I do think that the legal wrangling over the building of the spine road and ownership of the land would be interesting to say the least. If the spine road is built without the residents of Woodlands Lane’s permission, I would see that all new residents of phase 2 would be trespassing as they travelled on and off the estate. Just a thought for the residents and local council to consider…


  2. I made a video profiling the two estates which may be of interest: . The video is a personal reflection, by a local resident who walked these fields as a boy


  3. Traffic, fumes

    Going to be fun in a morning as the two-car families wish to get to work with only one exit. Either it will back up, causing delay to the estate exit, or in consequence the bypass and roundabout – which is never easy to cross even on a slack day.
    The rat runners choosing to drive through Blythe will cause chaos at school time taking their little charges on the morning-run when everyone knows its a no-go zone at 9.00am.
    Perhaps when the Blythe cross roads reaches breaking point and it certainly will, after Cheadle completes similar construction and provides even more additional vehicles….. maybe just maybe, the powers that be will realise that the infrastructure just isn’t there for all this new development.
    Building playgrounds and and biodiverse hedgehog runs under the A50 is all well and good but what about the two legged creatures that already inhabit the place that what was once a village – where exhaust fumes didn’t kill you.
    I wonder if Modwen have been approached to fund a Bypass to Cheadle around Blythe and Forsbrook.
    The inevitability of future gridlock and a barrage to the senses by 24 hour car noise is crystal clear for anyone with a vision to see the obvious.


  4. William Clarke

    Best of luck to anyone buying houses on these estates. The traffic noise off the dual carriageway will be loud and I certainly would not want to live so close to the A50. I live at the far end of Forsbrook, only 200 m from Foxfield Railway, and the constant hum of traffic can be heard in the early morning , so what must it be like living next to it?
    William Clarke


  5. Maintenance fees

    Beware of maintenance fees!
    Jacquie Leach


  6. The development is fantastic.
    It will bring great joy to me to see all the nimby residents moan and try to fight against a faceless developer, and lose.
    Many in Draycott will make a huge amount of money from this growth. Especially those who sold land.
    Paul R


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