Category Archives: community action

NEWS: school sale / flooded drains / sad death / community date

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early February 2016
News of…:  Draycott Moor College property up for sale / rest in peace Doctor Dave / date for annual community meeting announced / are financial cuts to blame for flooding? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Valentines dance… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Million pound property

If you have almost a million pounds, you might be interested in a desirable property in Draycott.  Yes, that’s the guide price for the land & buildings of Draycott Moor College (the old primary school) which goes to auction next week.
However, you’ll have to be the patient sort – as the present tenants, the Horizon Education Group, have a lease until 2023, and cannot be forced to leave until then…

The college, which cares for troubled youngsters, has been successful in attracting more pupils recently, and has been growing, even taking on some younger children. The roll-call now stands at around twenty-six students, some of whom come daily from quite some distances away.
The growth has been such that the college has now decided it needs to build its own car-park on the site.  The latest hope is that this will be completed by Easter – which will make the parking in Draycott Old Road less congested.

Interestingly enough, the whole college site was suggested last year as a possible development area for new houses.  (Draycott has been asked by the district council to find enough spare land on which to build twenty-five homes).  Perhaps any buyer will be aware of that, and see it as an investment?

– – –
Goodbye Doctor Dave

Doctor DaveIt’s not often that a resident of Draycott is the subject of a front-page splash in the local papers, but that is what happened when the sad news of the death of Dr Bhupendra Dave was reported. It shows how well-respected he was as a local figure.

Doctor Dave, who had served as a doctor in Cheadle for many years before retiring just over a decade ago, lived quite near to the Draycott Arms.
We send our condolences to his wife Devila.

– – –
Preventable (?) floods

A couple of weeks ago we reported on this website on all the flooding in Cresswell, which you might call flooding ‘due to natural circumstances’, as parts of Cresswell are in a flood-zone.
But… there was also flooding on the Uttoxeter Road just before Totmonslow, flooding in Draycott Old Road (where sandbags had to be used), flooding on the dual carriageway slip road, among a number of incidents where you could say the flooding was different – as it was quite preventable.

Now that the waters have gone down, people have been out to find out what went wrong, and a lot of it seems to be down to poor or infrequent clearing of the ditches and drains.

Blocked pipe on Uttoxeter Road

As you can see from the photo above, the pipe which should have taken any excess water off the Uttoxeter Road and siphoned it into the parallel ditch is simply so choked it couldn’t do its job.
Also, a number of drains are just silted up, as you can see in the photo below (also on the main road). However, some people also believe that the culverts under some roads have simply collapsed.

Silted up drain

Draycott Parish Council is so fed up about one incident near Draycott Old Road that it has written to the neighbouring Forsbrook Parish Council to ask them to help sort out the root causes, as the problem originated on Forsbrook’s side of the ‘border’.

But, at the end of the day, our guess is that the financial cuts have bitten so deep that the county council can no longer keep up its commitments to maintain smaller districts like ours.  Parish councillors at Kingsley (which is a village the other side of Cheadle) seem to think the same thing, and have written a strong letter to the Chief Executive of Staffordshire telling him not to ignore small villages.

– – –
The people’s meeting

A date has just been announced for the local ‘parish assembly’ – an annual event where Draycott & district residents are asked to come together to discuss the issues that bother them in the community.  By law this gathering must be held in the Spring, and is quite an old tradition, which applies only to villages and small towns – cities and larger towns are not entitled to hold an assembly in this way.

However, too often, these meetings are usurped by politicians… when in fact they are meant to be a meeting for the ordinary people of a district, when they can raise and discuss whatever questions they want.
If you’d like an issue discussed, Kate Bradshaw is putting together the agenda – contact her if you want something discussed or you have a query.
The Draycott Parish Assembly is scheduled for Monday April 25.

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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)

A year in the life of Draycott website

A lot of people ask us: how popular is this Draycott-in-the-Moors website?
Well, we asked the technicians at WordPress (the ‘platform’ that hosts this website) to provide us with the statistics for this website’s performance in 2015, and they have just got back to us with their report.


The headlines are: that there were 74 posts (about one every five days) in total; and that pages on the website were viewed on about 38,000 occasions in 2015, by about 14,000 visitors. Of course, many of those ‘visitors’ are the same people coming back time and time and again, but – when you think that there are only nine hundred adults in the Draycott parish area – that’s still pretty good!
However, not all the website’s visitors come from Draycott parish.  Amazingly, one in twenty visitors were listed as coming from the USA, Australia or Canada.  We suspect that these visitors are ‘ex-pats’ keeping an eye on their old home!

And visitors liked to comment.  There were 150 comments published on the website during last year (and we had double that amount in direct emails from people sending us their ‘private’ thoughts).
Anyone can ask for an email alert to be sent to them asking to be notified every time a new article is written; and there are 200 such ‘followers’ at the moment.

Most popular

The most popular page on the site was, not surprisingly, the ‘What’s On’ page with over 1200 views across the year.
However, the one single news page on this site to get the most hits was our report in February on the way that Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee approved the Blythe Park application (see ‘Shock Result over Cresswell Planning’). On the day it was published it got a massive 347 views, but it has since gone on to pick up over 600 views so far.

But – that is pretty much all the technicians can tell us.  There is no way to track which actual individuals visit the website or which UK districts they came from.
So, what is our guess about readership?  Well, we guess that about half of the population of Draycott/Creswell/Totmonslow regularly access the site.

Who, what, why

The other questions we get asked are usually about our motivation.

We often get asked: who’s behind the website?
Well, Mark is the guy who does most of the processing work, mostly because he’s retired and he’s got the time!  He also takes the responsibility, because he has the experience of life. (See: About this Site)
However, there are also around another twelve local regular people who submit snippets of info and photos.  Now and again, someone will write a whole piece; and, if they want to be credited, their name will be on the piece.
The fact is however we could do with some new blood; we’ve been doing this three years now, and it’s quite tiring! If you fancy chipping in and doing a bit, email us.

What’s the point?  Well, it’s not money! This site is done purely as a labour of love.
But we also all think like ‘democrats’ – the more a community talks to itself, even about things it disagrees about, the better it will be.
Surely, it is good to support the people doing good things, and to ‘nudge’ anyone who forgets that we owe certain duties to our neighbours…?

How do we choose things to write about?  Well, we don’t really choose in any particular way. Someone just suggests something, or mentions something that’s happened – and it goes on the list, and someone researches it. Or something is suggested in our letters-bag.
If you yourself want something mentioned, just drop us an email. It’s very easy.

And that’s all it is really.  Have a great 2016!

***
Want to comment?
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: Odd flooding / A-boards gone / Colours project / lengthsman update

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early December 2015
News of…:  why was a roadside drain filled in? / junction adverts removed / Blythe Colours reunion success / lengthsman saga goes on … and on …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Christmas Tree Festival. Check out the Events page)

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Not draining

The recent weather of rain and high winds has caused some disruption, but the most obvious consequence is the pooling of water on the link-road just outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant (about one hundred yards from the A50 roundabout). This link-road connects the north-bound and south-bound sections of the dual carriageway.
This flooding effect is quite dangerous as cars turning into it off the dual carriageway can be doing a decent speed – and may not see the water – and can hit the water quite hard.  It lasted for some eight days.

Flooded drain

The mystery is: why is the water not running away through the drain there?
Well, oddly, it looks like someone has filled in and tarmaced over the drain….! Presumably this was done by the county highways team, though no one is sure. Our councillors are looking into the issue.

– – –
Adverts taken away

Another road issue that has raised some discussion is the question of the A-boards which sit on the main junction on Draycott Level.
Some people think they should be left there, as they help advertise local businesses. Other people think they are an eyesore and ugly-looking.
However, just to place them there is not illegal, as such, which is why they have been there for so long.

But you will notice that most of them have been taken away now.

Cresswell Lane junction adverts

What happened was that our Draycott in the Moors Parish Council recently had a complaint that they were dangerous – because they were blocking the view for some low-chassis cars trying to turn into Uttoxeter Road from Cresswell Lane. And… it turned out that it is “illegal to leave anything on verges or highway that obscures vision”.
So, the boards have now all been removed but one; the one that remains is chained to the signpost there, so it will need cutters.

– – –
Odd job

Taking of the parish council, the four-year saga to find and employ someone to do the odd-jobs about the area goes on.
For some reason, the council hasn’t wanted to place an advert in the local newspapers for the post; and councillors have instead just been recommending their own friends & neighbours for the role (officially known as the ‘lengthsman’). None of these recommendations turned out satisfactory, so, finally, two months ago it was decided enough was enough, and the post would be properly advertised.

But — last month, a couple of councillors each recommended one of their neighbours and their recommendations are now being considered.
Back to square one then.

– – –
Blythe Colours project expanding

The Blythe Colours Factory reunion last month saw an amazing turn-out, when some sixty people crowded into the Cheadle History Centre meeting room and swapped stories and reminiscences.
The main ambition of the meeting was to look through all the photos in the Blythe Colours archives and try to identify all the people and places in the pictures. However, there are probably two thousand photos to be labelled, so it will take another two or three sessions for that to be achieved.

The archives were donated to the Cheadle History Centre when the Cresswell factory closed its doors for the last time last year. Among the archives are not just photos, but artefacts (like enamels, commemorative plates and marketing items) and documents, including old works magazines and posters.

What’s great is that former employees are coming forward not just to attend the reunions but also to donate items they have. Bill & Jill Allen, who actually live in Scotland nowadays, have just sent us some lovely silk promotional calendars (see the 1950 one, below) – and we have been able to pass them on to the History Centre. A big thanks to them.

Blythe Colours calendar 1950

If you want to know more about the Blythe Colours project, drop an email to Mark Bentley. He is co-ordinating the project from the employees’ side of things.

***
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)

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.

Anniversary

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.

Activities

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.

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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.

Giving

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 Virginmoneygiving.com 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
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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.

– – –
Public-spirited

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.

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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.

– – –
Community-minded

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.

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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.

– – –
Bullseye!

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

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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!

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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?!!)

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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.

Partnership

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!

Kiosk

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.

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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.

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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).