Category Archives: community action

Oak Tree Farm – a local charity

Coming up to Christmas, we all think about giving to charities, especially to local ones.  One of our most local charities is the Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, which gives adults with learning difficulties some realistic work-experience on a small-holding.
This coming Saturday (December 5th, 11am-2pm) you can even go along in person to its ‘seasonal open day’. Handmade wreathes and other gifts will be on sale, the plant nursery and pottery shop will be open, and of course you can drop in to the famous ‘Oak Leaf’ tearoom.


In fact this coming few months will be very busy ones for the project, because it celebrates its thirtieth birthday next year.  The idea is to make this birthday its biggest and best!
If you have never been to Oak-Tree, it is about four miles from Draycott.  Drive south from Draycott, go through Cresswell, go straight along, through Hilderstone, all the way to the crossroads on the main road.  Oak Tree is just the other side of this junction.

It was all started back in 1986, when the Sandon Hall Estate gave the use of a few acres to some volunteers who felt that their grown-up children – all of whom had learning difficulties – needed more than just bingo and cups of tea to exercise them.
Down the years 200 volunteers have given active support, with over one hundred ‘clients’ being able to come along and take part in the project’s activities.

Even today, there are around 25 regular volunteers, some of them being university students and some who have been coming for years.  There is a small paid staff who ensure day-to-day continuity.

Two people who are still helping to run the place after all these years are Monica Moreton and son David.  Monica was one of the founders, and, a year later, she persuaded David to come and do a stint – and he has been there ever since!
In 2014, the site won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.


The activities are geared toward the abilities of the clients, but it still has to run as a working farmyard – with animals and plant nurseries and gardens – so everyone is called on to perform real tasks.  The project, charity though it is and with about half its money provided by Social Services, still has to make extra money from the farm products and tasks in order to survive.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As one walks through the yard, one can see the well laid-out greenhouses & polytunnels and the stables… but also an equipped pottery, and some work-rooms.   Everything developed on the site is for sale – the ceramics, the flowers and the vegetables (and the Xmas wreaths!).

Some of the lads are even employed to be part of a commercial garden-services outfit, going out to cut grass and do gardening for organisations such as churches and public concerns.

But the most-visited part of the complex is of course the ‘Oak Leaf’ tea room, which is open to the public six days a week.   It is so popular that you have to book ahead if you want to be sure of a table at lunch-time!
In here, the learning-disabled serve tables and work in the kitchens, being encouraged to apply for food-hygiene certificates, so that they can really do the whole range of what is asked of them.


It all seems to work very well.   The volunteers are happy, and the ‘clients’ are so enthusiastic that they demand to come from as far away even as Great Wyrley in south Staffordshire.
As David Moreton told us: “Oak Tree grows confidence, it gives experience, and it provides occupation.  The fact that the place is run as a business makes it very real.”

Next year, you will be hearing a lot about Oak Tree.  Fund-raising is going to step up a gear because the current site is proving too small, and the desire is … if it is possible … to find a new bigger patch of land.

But, you don’t have to wait in order to donate.
If you want to put a local charity on your Christmas list, you could do worse than select Oak Tree. There is a online site (charity no 1138396), or you can email Oak Tree for more details.

However… if you really fancy something special for your pound, you can always donate a brick (sort of!).
If and when you go along (the farm site is open week-days – check the website), you will notice that the path to the tea-room is made up of brick paving, and all the bricks are engraved with the names of their donors or their donors’ nominees.  Now…. there’s a nice Christmas gift to give!

James Goodis
And … now that you have read this article … can you think of another charity in or around Draycott that deserves our attention?  Just use the comments box below (or email us) to let us know of your choice

NEWS: good Sport news / Draycott werewolf / community spirit / action funds needed

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid November 2015
News of…:  construction projects for tennis and cricket clubs / Emma’s happy Halloween at Huntley / a show of community spirit by the Arms / fund-raising drive launch from action group …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Star-Gazing Night. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Sporting good times

The best news we’ve heard in a while is the news coming out of our two big sports clubs.

At at Draycott Sports & Racquets Centre, it’s just been announced that tennis-courts 3 & 4 are about to be completely re-made with a new ‘astro turf’ surface. For those who like to know such things, the colours of the surfaces will be blue and green. The work starts at the end of this month.
The extra great thing about this is the belief shown in the club by the Lawn Tennis Association, which has put up an interest-free loan which will fund 75% of the project cost.  Obviously the LTA see a real future for the sport in Draycott.

And, just a hundred yards away, at Blythe Cricket Club, there is other good news. As you may well know, the club has been concerned about the state of their pavilion for some time. It’s almost ninety years since it was constructed, and the small building with its thin wooden walls simply doesn’t fit modern needs. So… way back in 2012, the club first set off down the track to planning and funding a replacement.

Blythe Cricket Club pavilion

Blythe Cricket Club’s pavilion is showing its age

Well, the latest is that the process of seeking a Lottery grant for the new pavilion, aka the ‘Community Hub’, has gone through its last stage – successfully!  So – the money is in place, and building can start.
Of course, this will mean some disruption at the ground next year whilst the works are carried out, but it will all be worth it…

And, as we are on this stretch of Cresswell Lane, I suppose we shouldn’t forget the third sports club there – the Checkley Bowls Club, which plays on the green at Blythe Business Park.  The club, which is in its winter recess, recently had its awards evening; and our congratulation go to Eric Worsdale, who picked up the Cowans Cup award for the best average score across the season.

– – –
Werewolves in Draycott Cross

Did you have a sighting of a werewolf on Halloween night? Well, we did – as the guests of the Haunted Huntley Halloween Event experience.

The spooky Halloween activity took the form of a walk through the (very dark) Huntley Woods – with all sorts of weird and …gulp… gory sights along the way (we were on the Adults-Only walk!). Bits of corpses were strewn across our walk; a very strange forester came to talk to us, as did a badly wounded scientist; and there was howling coming from the old quarry. Unnerving: to say the least!
And then this Scarefest culminated with a … yes … a werewolf, stumbling out of the trees toward us.

Huntley werewolf

One of the group managed to get a photo of the werewolf

Fortunately this hairy and snarling beast was eventually put down by the guides, using their special powers; and so Draycott’s Beast Of The Night was laid low.
Until next year that is, when, we are told, he will rise again….

One of the guides on the night was Emma King, one of the founders of the Huntley Wood Centre. Emma explained how, now the centre is up and running, she has decided to give up the actual management side; and has turned back to her first love, science.

Huntley Wood's Emma King

Emma King (left) explains the Huntley Wood concept to a visitor

So, Emma, who is a cosmologist with a PhD in physics, will be running science shows for children in Staffordshire schools next year. One of her shows is called “Explosive Food”; children will probably have much fun with that!

– – –
Building on Blythe Business Park ?

One of the odd things about the planning proposals for Blythe Park is that they are STILL not signed off.
Although the SMDC Planning Committee gave formal approval for the plans – to build an extra 168 homes in Cresswell, and double the size of industry in the hamlet – way back in August, the proposal is still listed as ‘Awaiting Decision’.   This is because the community-agreements are not yet in place, and presumably there are still negotiations rumbling on.
Which all means that there is still a chance to defeat the plans.

The local community action group, VVSM, has taken advantage of the situation and have been roaring ahead with their work – briefing their legal team, brushing up on the research, and generally keeping spirits high.
The group has a period of six weeks following any finalisation of the plans to make a legal objection, and this is what their thinking is at the moment.

Of course, that all needs money; and the group has launched a fund-raising drive. If you want to help, click here to find all the details.

– – –
Dangerous junction

Sad to say there was another crash on Uttoxeter Road a few days ago. Two vehicles collided on the Draycott Arms junction, just as one of them was pulling out of Cheadle Road.
Fortunately, no one was really hurt, though the car looked a write-off to us when we saw it.

Draycott Arms
Good to know there is some great Draycott community spirit around though…
The first volunteer on the scene was none other than the chairman of Draycott Parish Council, Roger Holdcroft, who busily cleared the road of crash-fragments, so that the waiting cars (which were by now in a long tail-back), could progress.
And what of the lady involved in the crash? Well our Zara, landlady at the Arms, rushed over, and was able to take the lady back to the pub and give her hot tea until the rescue services turned up.
Good to see.

Incidentally, Roger will be holding his first come-and-meet-your-councillors session this Monday (16th November) at the Draycott Church & Community Hall (in Church Lane), 6.45-7.15pm. If you fancy a chat about anything in the district, he says he will be all ears.

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: break-in / public spirit / solar arrays / tidy village

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid October 2015
News of…:  thieves strike in Draycott / latest on Blythe Park application / another solar farm on the way? / police thank residents / congratulations to Fulford …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Christmas Crafts Fair. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Yet another vehicle break-in

We’ve been mentioning on this website for a while now, on and off, that there seems to be a spate of petty thieving going on locally.  The police say it’s down to small gangs of thieves driving over from Stoke-on-Trent to look for opportunities to make off with ‘portable’ items.
They seem pretty brazen too.  One resident told us he went outside his home when he heard some banging in the street, around 9pm, only to see some lads trying to force open his van! They ran off of course.

But, last night (14th October) thieves did manage to actually break into a van – parked on the owner’s drive – in Draycott Old Road, taking power-tools. Anyone with information should call the police on 101 – quoting incident number 0113.
The moral of the story is of course: if you see something suspicious going on, try to get what details you can, and phone the police.

– – –

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that the police were so impressed by the public spirit of some of the residents of Draycott that they have gone on record saying how grateful they are to them.
Some local people took part in the search to find a missing person, the unfortunate Michael Heath, whose body was eventually found last week in wooded areas at back of Draycott Old Road.  Mr Heath had enjoyed camping in the area when he was alive.

The death of Mr Heath, who came from Blythe Bridge, is not being seen as suspicious.

– – –
More solar planning planned

The success of the solar-panels array at the Lower Newton Solar-Panels Complex between Totmonslow and Cresswell has led other local land-owners to consider installing them.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)

This is a photo of panels on a typical solar farm.

They use up otherwise under-developed land, create some income for the hard-pressed farmers,  provide more supply for the country’s electricity needs –  and it’s claimed they can even provide a little help in fending off climate change.
Just off Cheadle Road up at Draycott Cross, at Fields Farm, a planning application for one is under consideration at the moment.

The very latest move is a project proposed for Totmonslow; and it would be well-placed there, being close to the grid-lines that are supplied by the present one running at Newton.   However, it’s only in the early stages.

Meanwhile, another planning application, the one at Blythe Business Park (Cresswell)– to build 168 homes and double the size of the industry in the hamlet – is now just over one year old.  Seems amazing to think that it was only a year ago that this giant proposal was first brought to our attention!

Cresswell proposal

Blythe Park Cresswell proposal – the planned new build is in pink – housing on the left, industry on the right. The stuff in blue is what is already there. The railway is marked by the grey line along the top of this graphic

There were over 150 letters of objection at the time, and the local community action group VVSM took that on board – and so have been stalwart ever since in opposing the development.
They are still managing to hold it off, though they could, as always, do with more support and more volunteers.  You can check the latest updates of what they are up to by clicking here.

– – –

There has been a lot of talk in Draycott recently about whether we should all be more community-minded.  Well, one place that really has developed its sense of community is next-door Fulford; and it’s congratulations to the residents there who have worked so hard to keep their village beautiful and tidy – and, in so doing, picked up the Mid-Staffordshire Best Kept Village Award.

The Fulford Community Group – in partnership with their own parish council there – does a grand job of maintaining a community spirit.  Well done to them on their achievement.

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: missing post box / SMDC issues / darts back / Home Link

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2015
News of…:  where is the missing Draycott post-box? / just days to go for SMDC deadline / darts is back at The Arms! / volunteering for Home Link …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Star-Gazing & Astronomy Night. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Posted … large delivery

One of the strangest Draycott stories this week was about our local post-box that “went missing”.  Yes, it seemed that, right under our noses, the post-box was simply dug up, removed and taken elsewhere!
The phenomenon was first reported to police as a theft – the police said they can’t be sure when it was taken, but have narrowed down the time to sometime last weekend (4th-7th September).

(UPDATE  We’ve had a late notification on this item from Bev Reardon (who lives nearby).   She says it wasn’t stolen, but removed, quite quickly, by Royal Mail, after the box was knocked over in a road accident.  See her email)

If thieves had taken it, who’d have thought it would be worth their time and trouble?  However, it turns out that there is a trade in stolen post-boxes, most of which are shipped abroad to collectors.  These collectors will pay thousands of pounds for them.  Who would have thought it?
The Royal Mail is thinking of tagging its post-boxes now to prevent further thefts. 

– – –
Problems at SMDC

The Site Allocation Consultation organised by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council seems to be running into quicksand…
This consultation was the chance for the public of Draycott and other places to comment on where new housing, new gypsy sites and new industry should be sited in our district over the next fifteen years.  However, the forms are hard to understand (let alone fill in!); and some parish councils have been very angry about the lack of information. (Cheadle Town Council is even asking for a postponement of the deadline for that reason).

However, if you are finding the forms hard to understand, Draycott parish councillor Jacquie Leach has said she will willingly help anyone.
Jacquie wrote to us to say: “I am more than willing to help anyone who wishes to fill in the form. I have done it myself, and we need as many people as possible to fill one in. Call me on 01782 388077. If anyone is interested, I have some spare forms if you would like one, or you can fill one in electronically on the Staffordshire Moorlands website. Once this goes through there will be no turning back!

Jacquie is the only parish councillor to have filled in a response on the online site of the Consultations webpage, as far as we can see, so she must know what is what in that regard.
The deadline date is this Monday, September 14.


Sticking with SMDC, it seems like Councillor Mike Worthington (the chairman of the SMDC Planning Committee) has landed himself in hot water with some very silly and inappropriate remarks made at a recent meeting.
Apparently, VVSM (the residents’ action group here in Draycott) think that what he has done could possibly spell good news as far as Cresswell is concerned.  Click here for more details.

– – –

Some of us mourned the loss of the dart-board when the new owners of the Draycott Arms moved in earlier this year.  They told us it had had to go, as part of the improvements.

Well, we are happy to say that … the darts-board is back!  Tara & Brayn relented when they heard how much people liked it.
What’s more, already there is a women’s darts team up and running at The Arms – which is still looking for members.  Hurry up and apply!

Wouldn’t it be good to see a ‘derby’ match between The Arms and The Hunter?

– – –
Volunteers needed

Many of us have heard of Moorlands Home Link, which provides companionship and help for older people in the region.  There isn’t a Draycott branch yet, so many of our older folk go along to the luncheons provided by the Blythe Bridge and the Tean groups.

The Tean session is every Tuesday afternoon at Gorsty Hill chapel in Tean, and is an opportunity for older people to get together for a home-cooked meal, and for entertainment and activities. Transport is provided.

However, such sessions don’t happen on their own; and Steph Chadwick contacted this website to remind us all that volunteers are needed to help out, on a rota, at the club.
If you can spare a few hours every month, please contact Steph on 07950 243 345, or call the Moorlands Home Link office on 01538 750511, or email cheadlehomelink

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: cuts to buses / VVSM action / Draycott champions / superfast arrives

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2015
News of…:  change of bus provider, and cuts to services / we are the (tennis) Champions! / latest moves over Blythe Park development / at last, local Superfast Broadband goes live  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a free music festival. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Goodbye number 4, hello number 12

Well, any bus-user will be feeling a bit fed up looking at the new bus timetables for our area, which will activate in in a fortnight’s time on September 6th.
The changes have been implemented by Staffordshire County Council, who pay for the service to operate.

Our district only has one bus service nowadays, which goes through Cresswell, then out to Blythe Bridge & Longton along Uttoxeter Road, and to Stone in the reverse direction.
Bennett’s will no longer be running this service through Cresswell-Draycott, which is now taken over by D&G Buses. So, the number 4 bus (Bennett’s) will be replaced by the number 12 (D&G).

Bennett's Number 4 bus

Bennett’s Number 4 bus – a last sighting?

The route is very twisty indeed, going Cresswell – Blythe Bridge – Longton – Stone in a sort of loop.   You can get to Barlaston if you want.  See the complete new timetable here.
You can also see that the number of bus services passing through per day has now dropped from eight (four in each direction) to six.   Yes, they have now taken off the last bus, the one that used to run around 4.30pm.
There is an bus-information event in Stone on Thursday 3 September at Market Square (near the Co-Op) from 10am-2pm.  If you go along, and find out any more, would you let us know?

Things are getting so bad for bus-users, that, in neighbouring Fulford, the Parish Council there has helped to start up a voluntary car scheme to enable residents to get about.

Slowly, slowly, they are whittling our services down.  Soon, we will all need to be getting taxis!

– – –
Draycott Parish Council – a deafening silence

There was a nice big attendance for the meeting organised by local action group VVSM last week to discuss the latest set-back for residents over the Blythe Park development. Despite an overwhelming majority of residents in Cresswell expressing opposition to the plan and the fact that it broke Staffordshire Moorlands own Core Strategy, the SMDC planning committee confirmed its decision to approve the plans.

Unless VVSM can overturn the result legally (by proving negligence on SMDC’s part) all that remains is for the ‘Section 106’ terms & conditions to be thrashed out… though that could take months.

What’s amazing is the Draycott Parish Council’s complete silence over this matter, and over the other local big planning issue, the current housing allocation consultation for Draycott.
Most of us expected that the PC would call an emergency meeting, or at least issue some sort of statement to residents … but not a peep.
The members can’t all be in Tenerife, can they?

– – –
Champions … again!!

Well done to the Draycott Sports Centre tennis team, who have done us all proud by bringing the City & Suburban League Championship title back to Draycott again.

The team, ably led by Craig Leese, were trailing Florence for a lot of the season, but achieved a stunning result at the beginning of August, beating Florence 4-0.  That result made the way to the championship much easier.
Congratulations, lads!

The centre is now going to build on its brilliant tennis reputation by setting up a proper ‘tennis committee’ to develop the club’s plans to branch out even more into the community.  If that is something that you think you want to give some time to, just contact the club’s Jack Redfern.

Incidentally, talking of sport, the last we heard is that Tara Burndred (who is the 4th Dan Black Belt who runs the martial arts centre in Cresswell) is still planning to defend her world title at the Ju-Jitsu International Championships next month in Switzerland.
So, stay fit, Tara … and good luck!!

– – –
Superfast crawls in, at last

Well, after months (and months) of waiting, superfast-broadband is finally here in Blythe Bridge-Draycott-Cresswell.  Twelve months ago, we published an article asking what was happening to the roll-out!
However, the cabinet in the Cresswell lay-by (see pic, below) now proudly bears its little sticker.

Cresswell broadband cabinet
The sticker means the cabinet is now live at last, and – if you upgrade your system – you should be able now to get download-speeds of 80Mbps and upload-speeds of 20Mbps.
If you do sign up, let us know if it’s working as well as that for you.

– – –
Busy busy

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your diaries are up to date with local events.
The pick of the crop are the Draycott Sausage & Cider Festival, which takes place this Bank Holiday Monday of course, and then the annual Cloggerfest Free Music Festival, which takes place the following week at Blythe Cricket Club (on September 5th).
Cloggerfest has over a dozen acts on stage – including Jimmy Dammage & The Shadow, Gypsy Whores, Quiet The Thief, Baxter, Barrelhouse Jukes, Ryan Doole, Rain, Hornswaggle, Dawn, Rich Clough, Nixon Tate and Venus Rising. And the whole event is free.
For parents, there is the good news that weekly Brownies sessions return to Draycott Church Hall in two weeks’ time.

But there are loads more events – check out our What’s On page for the details of these and all the other events.

One what’s-on notification we got did surprise us though…  The Quick-Quick-Slow Dance Studio in Cresswell is advertising a couple of dances that they say will sell out fast – so they are urging us to sign up asap.
And when do the dances take place?  At Christmas!!
(Whatever happened to autumn?!!)

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).

Life saving defibrillator – ready for use!

Cresswell has just become a safer place to be for anyone with a heart condition. In a marvellous example of partnership, the local community, local charities and major authorities have all come together to make sure a public defibrillator is now available to residents – and it could save a life.
Soon, Draycott itself could have one too.

Big yellow box

If you have passed the information kiosk (the old telephone box) in the Cresswell lay-by recently, you’ll have noticed the big yellow box on there – that’s the casing for the defibrillator. To get at the defibrillator inside, you need a code, and that is provided once you call 999.
You don’t need training to use the machine as the defib ‘talks you through’ what you need to do.

Defibrillator in Cresswell Information Kiosk

Defibrillator cabinet in Cresswell Information Kiosk

A defibrillator is a piece of equipment which could be absolutely crucial if someone has a cardiac arrest – and this one is available for us to any member of the public.  For more information, and to find out about how one works, click here.


What’s great about this whole project is the way that the Cresswell Community Group, which initiated the project and monitors it, managed to pull together so many people and organisations to make it happen.
It’s taken over a year to raise the funds (the whole project cost about £1500), and involved six different partners!!

•   The Cresswell Community Group managed to raise the £700 to fund and install the casing – mostly through donations from local residents and things like car-boot sales and pub-quizzes.
•   One of the biggest donations came from Kevin Reid’s team at the Cheadle & District Round Table.  Also contributing were Blythe Bridge and District Rotary Club.
•   BT has promised to pay for the electric supply to the defib in the kiosk for the next seven years.
•   The British Heart Foundation paid for half the debrillator itself.
•   The local ‘First Responders’ – especially Chad Bloor – supplied the advice and expertise for the whole project; and will continue to do the weekly checks and the training
•   Turtle Engineering actually did the physical work of the installation (they had to fit a left-hand-opening door on cabinet, because of the way the kiosk is set up).

It’s amazing to think how all these organisations were persuaded to come together to co-operate on this. The CCG deserves congratulations.
Shelagh Wood, of the CCG, told us: “It does look good in the phone box I have to admit! I have now supplied the ambulance service with some details of the box, so it is all up and running as of now. We will have an official opening-ceremony for the press etc later in the year, I will let everybody know the date when that might happen.”

Fulford CFR Vehicle

‘Fulford First Responders’ also serve Draycott in the Moors

Our area’s ‘First Responders’ are very keen to get as many public defibrillators installed as possible, especially in villages that are remote from big population areas.   You may have seen more and more about – including one on the side of Blythe Bridge Library.
Draycott Sports Centre have recently stated up a drive to have one installed there, and the cricket club are thinking about it too. Some people have even wondered if the old kiosk opposite the Draycott Arms might be suitable for an installation too.  So – expect to see more of them soon!


The transformation of the old telephone kiosk into an information point was itself a pretty good initiative. The former county councillor for this area, Mike Maryon, provided much of the money for its refurbishment from his ‘Community Fund’.
It’s great to see such a successful piece of community action in practice.

The kiosk lives up to its ‘information point’ description, containing leaflets and bus timetables relevant to the district. Local businesses advertise there (they pay a small fee for that, which contributes to the maintenance costs), and there’s a even book-swap ‘library’!

Obviously, the kiosk is now open 24/7, so if you see anything funny going on there, don’t hesitate to call the police…

Community volunteering

If you live in Cresswell and fancy finding out more about the CCG, just contact Shelagh. The CCG regularly do community clean-ups, contribute to the Speedwatch effort, and maintain some flower boxes on Sandon Road too, so it’s not too much of a bother to volunteer to help.

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).

Blythe Park planning decision confirmed

Well, as you might have guessed, the Staffordshire Moorlands Planning Committee did not change their minds about the Cresswell planning application (for hundreds of homes and lots more industrial units at Blythe Business Park), even at the second time. As the councillors did in February, they passed the application again by a large majority, despite the concerns expressed by so many people.  See: SMDC August 2015 Planning Meeting agenda

Well done to the local people that turned up to the meeting, and voiced their dissent though. The massive majority of residents in Cresswell don’t want the new development, so they did speak on Cresswell’s behalf.
Only three parish councillors turned up (as far as we know – please tell us if others were there), Pauline Clarke, Jacquie Leach and Mark Deaville, who voiced their opinions forcefully.
The most forceful of all however was resident Nick Holdcroft, who told a member of the planning committee (who had tried to interrupt him, while he was delivering his address) to just keep quiet and wait his turn!    Kate Bradshaw was there too, and she will be doing a report for our Draycott Parish Council, we expect.
The only speakers there in favour of the development were … the developers themselves…

It was all to no avail though, even though there were new members on the planning committee (voted in since the elections in May), and the Conservative-majority committee voted it through.   In a way they had to, because the way planning committees work is that, once the original decision is taken, the protocol is to accept the original meeting’s decision, even at a later meeting when there are new councillors.
In fact, the real business of this meeting was to agree the terms and conditions attached to the approval – and they make for interesting reading – see SMDC Blythe Park discussion agenda

What now?

Nothing is over till it’s over, as they say, and some residents say there is still a way out.

As there seems to be a vague silence from the parish council at the moment, so the local residents’ action group, VVSM, has stepped into the breach; and have called an open meeting for this Tuesday (18th August), to take place at Draycott Sports Centre at 7pm. All who are interested are welcome to attend.

VVSM will be letting residents know if they have had back any information from the Environmental Law Foundation, who have been giving advice about calling a Judicial Review (which is a formal objection to the whole decision-making process that has gone on).

VVSM, jointly with parish councillor Jacquie Leach, have also submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman about how SMDC and the Planning Committee have carried out their duties. They will be reporting back on how that is going.

Please tell anyone you know that this meeting is taking place.

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).

Six weeks of summer events

It’s going to be a busy couple of months coming up for anyone who likes getting out and about and enjoying themselves in this neighbourhood.

The Draycott Summer Fayre was terrific as usual, so that’s given the local summer a great boost already!, but still to come are three Open Days, a major sports tournament and two mini-festivals – and we want to draw your attention to them here.
Also on this page (but a bit further down the page) we are asking you for your photos of the Draycott Summer Fayre.

Six dates for your diary

*Wednesday 29th of this month sees a unique opportunity to walk round a solar farm, and see just what goes on. The Novus group, which runs the giant Lower-Newton Solar complex in Cresswell, is inviting all and sundry to come and see what they’ve been doing since they set up earlier this year.
However, you must book a place first – to find out how, see our What’s On page entry.

newton solar panels

Lower Newton solar-farm complex

*Saturday 1st August is when Draycott St Margaret’s Church throws open its doors to all visitors for its ‘open afternoon’.  This is your chance to walk round the ancient building, to see the famous tombs of the medieval knights, and take a look at the 800-year old wooden chest.  However, be careful to get there on time; the church will only be open 2pm-4pm.

If Wimbledon was exciting for you, you may want to get down to Draycott Sports Centre for their Annual Open Tennis Tournament which attracts players from all round the region.  It runs for a week – from August 9th to the 15th – and features quite a few categories, from juniors to seniors to doubles.
Spectators are welcome; and if it rains, well… there is a bar at the centre for those who would like to sit and wait comfortably.

Draycott Cider Festival leafletAugust Bank Holiday Monday (31st) is when the new owners at the Draycott Arms, Brayn and Zara, are putting on a fun family event – a ‘Cider & Sausage Festival’, in the pub’s beer garden.
There will be more than just food and drink through – a bouncy castle and live-music are also on the menu!

On Saturday September 5th, there will be the first-ever Open Day for the Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre up at Draycott Cross.  The centre specialises in hiring out its woods and facilities to ‘fantasy’ enactments, but also does survival courses and tackles ecological issues.
For most of us, it will be the first chance to see how the owners have totally transformed the old quarry into something more like a log cabin village, which uses modern environmentally-friendly systems in its construction.

Also on September 5th, don’t forget the terrific music-festival that is CloggerFest, at Blythe Cricket Club.  If everything follows the usual plan, there will be a bunch of young talented bands taking to the stage one after another out on the field – from the afternoon right up until the late hours.  There will be lots of dancing and merriment!
Click here to pick up the latest news of who’s playing and what’s going to happen.

St Margaret’s Fayre 2015

Sunday’s event was just great – a dry & warm day, with lots to do!  Congratulations to all the volunteers, once again brilliantly led by John Clarke.

The choice of a Sealed-Knot Civil War re-enactment group this year was inspired; and the ‘Cavaliers’ really joined in the family fun.  Sad to say for them, they were foolish enough to challenge the children of Draycott to battle … and they were roundly defeated, having to flee for their lives within minutes of the children’s charge!

Everyone will have their own favourite moment of the day, but for us it was the amazing feats of strength by local strong-man Fred Burton.  Fred is competing in the Record Holders Republic World Championship and was determined to break some ‘Guinness’ records… which he did.  Incredibly, he managed to carry a 56lb weight for fifty metres in 25 seconds – using just his little finger.  He then attempted the 100 metres in the same way, getting even faster (!) doing it in just 49.3 seconds.
His third feat was to carry the 56lb weight as far as he could – using just his teeth – and he managed 112 metres in 106 seconds.

Fred Burton celebrates his record-breaking achievements

Fred Burton celebrates his record-breaking achievements

It was amazing to watch.  Afterwards he told us that he has no secret to his strength.  He just thinks that healthy fitness habits learnt in his childhood have made him the adult he is.  That’s probably a good piece of advice for new parents to remember – i.e. start the kids off well, and they’ll finish that way!

One of the last-minute changes was to have a ‘real-ale’ at the bar, in the shape of Sharps Brewery’s Doombar beer.  Well done to the bar-tenders – Anita & Archie & Leigh – for serving a superb pint of it.

We will have a fuller report of the fayre when all the stats are in… but, would you help us out by letting us have your photos too?  Just email us a couple of your best ones if that’s okay, and we’ll put a gallery of photos up reflecting the breadth of all the day’s events.
If you can’t wait for photos, there is already a gallery of over fifty photos on the Fayre’s Facebook page – click here to start viewing them.

Draycott Summer Fayre 2015 is on its way!

If the weather forecasters are right, this summer is going to be a good ‘un – and slap bang in the middle of the British summer this year comes the twenty-fourth Draycott St Margaret’s Summer Fayre – so, it’s time to get yourself ready!
The date for your diary is Sunday 12th July, with everything kicking off at 11.30 and finishing just before 5pm.

Sealed Knot

After two years in which the main attraction was the Viking re-enactors (who were brilliant), John Clarke and his team have decided on a change.
Sealed KnotThis year the fair goes back to the 17th Century and the time of the English Civil War in which Royalists fought the Roundheads.
The particular re-enactment group coming this year are from that very era and call themselves ‘Sir George Lisle’s Regiment of Foote’ (pic: right) which is also the name of an actual regiment which recruited from North Staffordshire during the Civil War.  They are part of the famous Sealed Knot society.
Expect loud bangs, ancient regimental manoeuvres including pikes, and lots of fascinated children to be watching!  There will two displays during the course of the day.

Also new this year will be local strongman Fred Burton.  Fred has been performing extraordinary feats of strength down the years, and, at the fayre, he will be making three new attempts on the Guinness World Book Of Records – all of which will be monitored by properly appointed referees.
Believe it or not, Fred will make these lifting-and-carrying attempts with… his little finger, and his teeth….

Old favourites

But the old favourites are not ignored.

At the top of the field, as part of the usual classic & historic rally, hundreds of vintage vehicles (from cars to tractors), and working engines, will all be on show.    The Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society will also be running a 1930’s double-decker omnibus in a route round the area, from Tean to Cresswell to Blythe Bridge, picking up anyone who wants to jump on!
The fun-fair and stalls will be next to the rally.

The first actual feature on the day, taking place at 11.30am, is the popular Dog Show. All fayre visitors are invited to enter their pets into the competition.

Draycott tug o war

The ladies have it! (Pic JC)

The fantastically enjoyable Family Sports competitions are back – who can forget how the children memorably beat the Vikings at Tug o’War two years ago?  Not to mention the day that the Draycott Ladies showed the Men how a will-to-win can always beat ‘experience’.

Inside the marquee, will be bric-a-brac stalls, tea & cakes, and a bar – not forgetting the fantastic burger-stall (where the queue never dies down….) – plus children’s entertainers all through the day.
Many local organisations will also have stalls displaying what work they do in our area – in case you had forgotten how much goes on this area….

Local involvement

The great thing about the fayre is that almost all the organisation and support for it comes from within the parish district (Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow and Draycott Cross).  There are no ‘paid professionals’ here; it all comes from the heart.

The bar tent is always well-attended...

The bar tent is always well-attended…!

Much support comes from St Margaret’s Church itself where the parishioners and church wardens are always the first to volunteer their services.
This year members from ‘Mish-Mash’, the church’s youth club, will be assisting at the tea-bar.  Be kind to them; it’s their first year…
And, once again, another set of stalwarts have stepped forward to man the hot, tiring and very successful burger-stall – well done to the staff of the Draycott Moor College.
In fact, most of the stalls and activities are also run by local people, including members of the Draycott Women’s Institute and the Craft Club.

Incidentally, if you belong to a local organisation, and you’ve forgotten to get yourself a stall or otherwise get involved at the fayre, it is not too late, but do hurry.  Phone John on 01782 396190, or, if you are a Facebook person, message the Fayre’s Facebook page.

Good cause

And it’s great to know that much of what you spend, whether it’s for the entry fee, or at the stalls, will makes its way back to Draycott.
The profits all go to supporting St Margaret’s, the ancient church which has overlooked this village for the last seven hundred years – and hopefully will for many more.
Admission is £4, with children under 16 getting in for free.

See you on Sunday the 12th!

If you wish to make a comment, use the text-box further down this page

NEWS: VE celebrations / open meeting / tropical days? / Brownies come to town

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-April 2015 News of…:  the ‘annual parish assembly’ meeting and how you can take part / bell-ringers celebrate VE Day / new Brownies group / proof of our tropical paradise…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a family tennis tournament. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Your chance to talk….

You may have spotted that the so-called ‘Annual Parish Assembly’ has been organised for next Monday (4th May) at the Church Hall.  It’s been organised for a bank holiday evening, which is a bit odd, but there you go…

A ‘parish assembly’ is an old tradition in the countryside; and is the one formal meeting of the village where anybody can get up and say anything.  For more details on what it actually consists of, click here.
The parish councillors are asked to attend, because this is the forum at which, usually, they explain their decisions and actions over the last twelve months to villagers – BUT, it is not a council meeting, it is actually an open meeting of the village.

If you have a local issue on our mind, this is also your opportunity to get it discussed.  If you want to be sure that it gets onto the list of items for discussion, you need to contact the parish council clerk, who is the person drawing up the schedule – she would like to hear from you by 5pm on Wednesday (29th).
The rules are that the incoming parish council, which will be elected on May 7th, should ‘take seriously’ any views expressed at the assembly.
Remember that only electors of the parish (i.e. from Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow and Newton) are allowed to speak, though anyone can attend.

Incidentally, a Meet The Candidates session, in which candidates in the forthcoming Draycott-in-the-Moors parish elections were to be quizzed, has now been cancelled.

– – –
Tropical paradise

Who said that our area was not a tropical paradise?  Not only has the recent weather been like that of the Mediterranean, but even some plants have a hot-climate look.

Palms in Cresswell

Palms in Cresswell

We couldn’t believe our eyes, but this skilful gardener in Cresswell is successfully growing palm trees – or, what look like palm trees anyway!  Will coconuts be next?

– – –
Happy news for parents

Draycott-in-the-Moors is not exactly the most interesting place for the young, so parents of little girls will be very happy to learn that there are moves to set up a local Brownies group.
Nearby Forsbrook have had a very successful Brownies group for some time, so there is no reason that Draycott shouldn’t have one.

There is an open evening for girls and their parents on Wednesday (29th April) at the Church Hall from 6.30pm-8pm.  It won’t just be an opportunity to pick up information, as there will also be activities laid on for the youngsters… should be fun!

– – –
Remembering 1945

This week sees the anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.  Back in 1945, there were scenes of wild celebration and relief that the terrible war was over.
The government is asking us all to mark the occasion – and there is even an official 70th Anniversary Website listing all the concerts, events, and parades that are happening across the UK.

In Draycott, the church bell-ringing team is also taking part.
Bell-ringers all over the country have been asked ring at 11 am on Saturday 9th May – and our bell-ringers have been happy to say they will join in.

St Margaret's Church - by Nigel Spooner

St Margaret’s Church, as depicted by Nigel Spooner

If you have never heard the wonderful St Margaret’s Church bells in action, we can definitely recommend the event. Why not take down a deckchair and sit in the sun, and listen to the peals as they are rung from the ancient church?
Surely, such a thought could not be more… erm… ap-peal-ing?  !!

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).