Category Archives: community action

NEWS of: helicopters coming / world-class guitarist / award for Pete? / Fayre is back

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early July 2022.
In this post we have news of…: huge helicopter factory coming / world-class guitarist in town / award for Pete Wilkinson? / Draycott Fayre is back…
There are also loads of events in & around our district this next few weeks! Kids’ camps, Draycott Scarecrow Festival and a Summer Ball are the highlights: please go to our What’s On page

If you want to get an email alert each time a post on this site goes live – go to the button markedFollow This Site via Email‘ (see button, right) 

_ _
Choppers incoming!

Things have certainly been hotting up over the last few weeks in Cresswell concerning the development coming to the Business Park. (If you remember, permission was granted eight years ago for the site to have both a housing estate of around 160 homes and a major extension to the current industrial bit of it).

First there was the row over the roundabout proposals, which the developers want to go back on with an appeal against the decision; then there was the reaction to the design plans for the housing on the site; and, just in, now there is the prospect of a huge new helicopter-making factory on the site!

The diagram shows the railway (thick black line) with Sandon Road on the left. The thick red line is the internal road through to the helicopter factory, and the block with the red lines around it is the propsed factory site, with the area below it (bounded in blue) a potential expansion space

The area that Hill Helicopters Ltd is asking for on the site is enormous. It’s at the furthest (eastern) end of the site, and stretches from the railway line to Leeses House Farm. (Anybody who likes walking the footpath-track from Rookery Crescent to Painsley Farm is actually walking the boundary of the site the company wants). Included will be almost 300 parking spaces, with provision for more as the company expands (which it intends to).
The area is so huge, it will be bigger than the housing estate, though, to be fair, half of it is to be left (for now!) as grassland.

One helipad is even planned to be in a small artificial lake…. very James Bond! However, that bit of glamour is probably quite deliberate, as Hill will be selling their helicopters to the rich & famous.

If you wish to study Hill’s application and comment on it, click here for the relevant webpage. Watch out for the detail – e.g. how much flying will be going on over our heads? How many workers will be coming in & out? Etc. The deadline for comments to be in is 27th July.

The sudden acceleration of these matters is proving a bit much for many Cresswell residents, so a special meeting of the village council, on July 11th, has been called to discuss what the position of the residents should be. All are welcome to the meeting – click here for details of it.

_ _
Happy day

One event to take our minds off planning developments is the annual Draycott St Margaret’s Fayre, which takes place on Sunday 10th July (i.e. next weekend). This fun day draws thousands of visitors to the village and raises a deal of money to help preserve our ancient church.

There are three separate strands to the weekend.

First off, all householders across Draycott, Cresswell & Totmonslow are invited to take part in the Scarecrow Festival. You should be getting your scarecrows up now, ready for judging next weekend. First prize is a £100 Amazon voucher, so it’s worthwhile…
Then there is the live-music night, in a marquee on the field in the centre of Draycott Level, on Saturday 9th July 6pm till late.
And of course, there is the fayre itself on Sunday 10th July with lots of stalls, children’s games, Viking re-enactments, birds of prey stand, a Dog Show and much, much more!

Tickets are easy to get: for the Saturday Live-Music Night, you can buy them in advance at The Draycott Arms pub, or on the door for £5; for the fayre, pay on the gate £5 (under-18s go free!)

_ _
Pete’s neighbourliness

It’s good to hear that one of our district councillors, Pete Wilkinson, has been nominated for a ‘Good Neighbour’ award. Draycott falls into the Checkley Ward of the Staffordshire Moorlands Council area, and Pete is one of the three district councillors for this ward – so he represents us at SMDC. You may even have voted for him.

Mostly the award comes for the work that Pete did helping to renovate Hollington Village Hall, as he lives that way (his day-job is as the owner of the Raddle Inn over there).

Pete is shortlisted for the BBC’s Make A Difference Awards, in the “Great Neighbour” category. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in September.

_ _
World class player

Finally, expect a sell-out when Gordon Giltrap comes to give a concert in this neck of the woods. Anyone who knows anything about blues & rock guitar will have heard of him – the great Brian May (of Queen) described him as “one of an elite few who truly have become legendary in their field”.
He appears in Hilderstone (the next village due south from Cresswell) on Friday 22 July (see our What’s On page for details).

It seems a bit strange that such a major artist comes to be playing at little Hilderstone Village Hall, but it’s all down to a scheme to bring the arts to ‘remote’ rural areas.
Whatever, it’s an amazing opportunity for young aspiring musicians to see one of the greats up close.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS of: Lisa’s day; assembly ideas; jubilee festival

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late May 2022
In this post we have news of…: a wonderful day for Lisa in Cresswell / new garden idea comes out of village debates / jubilee celebration in Draycott…

There are also lots of events in and around our district this next few weeks! For news of loads of Queen’s Jubilee events and a scarecrow festival and many more, please go to our What’s On page

If you want to get an email alert each time a post on this site goes live – go to the button marked ‘Follow This Site via Email‘ (see button, right) 

_ _
Flowers for remembrance

Nice to see around twenty people attending the Annual Draycott Assembly (the occasion where the community can come together to discuss how they feel about matters in the district).
Many subjects came up for debate, from perennial ones like speeding, and how to stop it, right through to the provision of local allotments. It was really great to see so many from the community getting into viable discussions about their own neighbourhood and how they would like to see it flourish.
Well done to Denise Wheat for organising it.

One very interesting idea was the development of the Garden Of Remembrance project.
If you are ever up at St Margaret’s Church, walk round the back and you’ll see a plot of land, which is being cleared for this particular project (see pic below). John Clarke and his team are really getting stuck in.

However, some very serious suggestions to move the project up a gear were explored, including installing wood-carvings on the site, and even making it into a wildflower haven. Applications for funding are already in the air…
Everybody at the assembly was very keen on this idea! Let’s hope it properly gets off the ground.

_ _
The sun comes out for Lisa

One truly marvellous event this past month was the Cake-Sale & Auction on the neighbourhood-green in Cresswell. It was only expected to be a small do, but the sun came out, and dozens and dozens of people turned up too! (It was almost too hot).
The event was to celebrate Lisa, whom a lot of us will know through her blog ‘Finding The Mothership’ which recounts her journey through cancer. It’s a painful read sometimes, but also full of joy.

Some of the ‘Tough Girls Club’ – the bakers, the face-painters, the sellers and Lisa (in the red-spot dress)

So her friends from Cresswell turned out to raise money, in order to let her have some of the comforts of life – and they raised a staggering £4,800… Unbelievable!
Some of the auction-items, donated by local individuals, were quite amazing: beauty appointments, a signed England shirt, a voucher to Thornberry Hall restaurant, a voucher to The Draycott Golden Keg restaurant – and many more. In fact, some of the auctions couldn’t be finished and went online.
A great result.

_ _
Jubilee weekend

If you look at our What’s On page, you’ll see many many Jubilee-related events all happening around Draycott. However, it did look for a while as though there would be no such public event actually in Draycott itself. Our village councillors said they didn’t think anything would be successful here, not even the lighting of a beacon.

However – well done to Zara and Brayn, who’ve stepped into the breach by announcing that they would re-schedule their Annual Sausage & Cider Festival to Jubilee Sunday.
Anyone who’s ever tasted one of the special sausages that Zara dreams up for the festival will want to be there…

Talking of big village events, nearly everything has been firmed up for the Draycott Annual Fayre, which takes place this year on Sunday 10th July. It is not too late though to book a stall – Jane Meller is in charge of taking enquiries for that (on 01782 396373). This year the price for tables inside the marquee is £15, and stalls out on the field remain at £10 per spot.

_ _
Bulbalcious

Finally, a word of thanks to Bev Reardon and her Draycott Local People group. This is the group who published and sold Christmas cards and a village calendar, to raise money for a local planting initiative. Over £800 was raised by January, and is being spent on sowing plants across the village.
Some of the bulbs were dug into the grassy bank below St Margaret’s churchyard, and did have a brief flowering in April – which was good to see.

The bulbs will only come back stronger next year…

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS of: people power! / walks, talks / Dougie Mac funding

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early April 2022
In this post we have news of…: people power
wins / Draycott walk / Zulu Wars talk / funds for Dougie Mac…
There are also lots of events in our area this next few weeks! For news of a Paloma Faith tribute act, the first match of the cricket season, Queen’s Jubilee dances and many more happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
People power

What happened last Thursday, at the Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee, was truly amazing, and definitely a red-letter day.
Against all the betting, the residents of Cresswell & middle Draycott persuaded the councillors of the committee to listen to common sense – and got a unanimous decision of support from them!

This is all to do with local proposed road changes, in which Scentarea (the local developers) wanted to scrap the roundabouts they’d been required to put in at two sites, one in Cresswell and one on Draycott-level, and replace them with cheaper, less safe alternatives (see full story).
Of course, residents were very angry about the developers’ cheek, but it seemed that the developers had seen a loophole in the planning regulations, and nothing could be done about it – unless the committee’s councillors could be persuaded otherwise.

The developers’ new suggestion for Cresswell: a ‘ghost’ right-turn priority junction into Blythe Park, instead of a roundabout

So, our congratulations must go out to the three main speakers on the day, all Cresswellians. Led by a really cogent, clear and sensible speech by Glyn Johnson (who is also on the village council) and backed up with really impressive addresses too by Luke Emery and Brent Horleston, the stage was set to overturn the developers’ strategy. Also speaking were our three district-ward councillors, Alan Hulme, Mark Deaville and Peter Wilkinson, who were completely behind the residents.
(If you want to watch the video of the proceedings including the short speeches, it’s online now: just click on Planning 7/4/2022 Blythe Park Variation Video)

And the committee was won over by them! Against the official advice, the committee voted unanimously to support the residents… a very rare victory for people power…

This doesn’t mean it’s actually all over, sadly: the developers do have grounds for appeal. However, if the developers really mean what they said in the original application (that – “they will listen to residents”), then perhaps, maybe, the matter is settled.

Whether you agree with them or not, the residents’ group (largely inspired by Louie Horleston, so well done to him too) and their supporters pulled off a stunning victory. People power indeed.
+++
Some news in brief —

Ian speaks
Nice to see that the local history group, the Blythe Bridge & Environs History Society, is back for its 2022 season of talks.
One event you mustn’t miss is local lad Ian Barlow doing his fascinating (and exciting) profile of the Zulu Wars, on May 3rd. In his talk he outlines the battles and strategies of the both the British troops and the native armies in South Africa during 1879.

Ian barlow and van
Ian Barlow’s day job is as a self-employed caterer

All the details of the society’s talks are listed on our What’s On page – guests are welcome.

Walking from the Arms
The Staffs Moorlands Walking Festival Weekend gets under-way on April 22nd, and one of the first walks starts at the Draycott Arms. (Anyone who wants to see the site of the local medieval moats should go on this one). The walk is led by Draycott resident, Austin Knott, who knows the paths and by-ways of this district very well indeed. Recommended!
Details on our What’s On page

A grand for Dougie Mac
Congratulations to the local firm of Hartley Skip Hire whose March Charity Drive raised over £1,000 for the local Douglas Macmillan Hospice and other good causes. People were encouraged to put scrap-metal into the charity skip at their premises in Draycott Cross during the month of March, and it was a very successful project.

Although the firm was deeply shaken by the death of its founder Harold Hartley last year, it is clearly still going strong.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: illegal waste dump / objections mount to road plans / Jubilee idea

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late March 2022
In this post we have news of…: illegal dump of waste / objections to road changes / Jubilee thoughts…

There lots of events in our area this next few weeks! For news of a daffodil ball, an exhibition about Blythe Colour Works, and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
Waste mysteries

By now most readers will know of the incident that saw a six-foot-high pile of rotting waste illegally dumped on a Cresswell back-lane this month.
Sometime in the early hours of March 6th, the load was deposited a few yards up the farm-track, which is behind Rookery Crescent. (This half-mile long track leads to Painsley Farm, but there are also four other properties along there and a stables). The load then seems to have been pushed up a few yards, thus clearing the lane for cars, to the point where the track meets Sandon Road.
The whole matter is extremely mysterious. Who dumped it there? Why? Why did it take two weeks for the authorities to clear it? Was it a hazard to health?

The dumping was first spotted just before dawn (pic from Facebook)

First speculation was that it was a rogue contractor. Some criminal gangs will take money to clear waste, only then to dump it in the countryside where they don’t have to pay landfill fees. However, this action seems too obvious. Criminals usually dump such waste as far from view as possible.
So…. was it then a deliberate, not random act? The police are investigating.

The second puzzle is why it took so long to get it cleared. Parts of the pile were taken away in dribs & drabs, but it was the 18th March – twelve days later! – before the final section was collected. The pile was clearly rotting household waste; anyone who has been to a Third-World country knows that strange fishy smell that comes off long-standing local tips.
There do seem to have been negotiations between the county council and district council about who was to do what, and who was to pay for removal (because it was just off the highway, so not a direct responsibility). There was even a thought that, as it was on half on the verge (i.e. private land), it was also the land-owner’s responsibility (sounds daft, but that’s the law).
That said, this track is also a public footpath, and no-one in Cresswell was comfortable seeing a pile of decaying matter just standing there for so long.

The rubbish was pushed up against the end of the track, where it meets Sandon Road

Finally, well done to those residents who used the village Facebook page to keep the village informed on what was going on. As one contributor rightly said, communication from the authorities themselves (i.e. the county, district and parish councils) to nearby householders was non-existent.

What we’d like to see now is an honest report from our local parish council into the affair, especially the lengthy delay – which also comes up with some recommendations for future situations.
Dumping is rife, and getting worse. If you know anything of this incident, or others, please contact Crimestoppers, the first place to report hazardous dumping.

_ _
Objections mount to road scheme

Anyone reading recent posts on this website will know that the big planning issue of the last weeks is the one concerning the changes to the road infrastructure in the village. Local developers are seeking permission to scrap planned roundabout schemes for Draycott level and for Cresswell and to replace them with less costly alternatives. (See full story).

For lots of reasons, there has been a big residents’ backlash to the suggestion. Some forty objections – a huge number, comparatively – have been lodged on the official planning page, and anyone who went to the public meeting earlier this year will have noticed the anger in the air.
For once though we must congratulate the parish council (which is usually worse than useless in planning matters!) for the letter of objection it has put in. Written by the clerk of the council, Denise Wheat, it is firm, comprehensive and covers all the problems. Worth reading.

The crunch point comes when the Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee meets on 7th April to discuss the issue. Already, three speakers (the maximum allowed) have been lined up to address the committee on the day.

_ _
Let’s get together

Although the rest of the country appears to be frantically arranging all sorts of events for the Queen’s jubilee in two months’ time, Draycott is strangely quiet. (The village council’s sole idea is a vanity-project – to put up a flagpole in the village centre, even though there has been little call for it and it will cost hundreds of pounds. Sigh).

So, it’s good to see Sarah Plant trying to get something going. Sarah, who runs the DrayTots parents & toddlers group in the village, is proposing a community get-together, based around sales of teas & cakes with stalls as well – something small and nice and local, to suit everyone.
Yes, it’s a great idea! Please contact Sarah about this idea if you think you can help or support her initiative.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

News: festival success / Covid volunteers / home holidays / local artwork

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid December 2021
In this post we have news of…: Covid volunteer groups are fully back / Xmas Tree fest a success / a Draycott staycation! / a ‘brilliant’ artwork

For news of an appearance by Abbarella (!), a pantomime, and Xmas dances and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
Volunteers on standby

As we’ve been reporting, it looks like Covid is properly back. Sigh.
At the moment, we in the Staffordshire Moorlands are only slightly affected; it’s London that is feeling the big effect of the ‘Omicron variant’. Still, what happens in London will affect us, sooner or later.

The good news is that the organisations happy to support those individuals who feel isolated or just worried are back in full force. The volunteers of the Draycott Covid Group are back to full readiness, and the Blythe Library-Centre Phone Buddies are also standing by.
A new group (well, new to us anyway) has also been putting up posters saying they can help. The Revival group will do welfare checks on adults aged 55-plus, the disabled and unpaid carers. They are funded by the NHS North Staffs CCG.

If you feel worried or upset about the present situation, or plain isolated, don’t hesitate to call them – that’s what they are there for.

_ _
Powerful trees

The 2021 Draycott Christmas Tree Festival weekend, at St Margaret’s Church, attracted a surprisingly large number of visitors, which was lovely to see, and was quite a success.
For those who didn’t get a chance to get along, the good news is that the trees are staying up until Twelfth Night (January 7th) and can be seen during church normal opening hours.

The best time to see them is probably at the Draycott Christmas Carol service, which takes place on Sunday 19th Dec at 6.30. All are welcome, and the old church will look very festive for the occasion.

The trees themselves at the festival were all decorated and donated by local community organisations and families.

It has to be said that the most emotional tree was one that was contributed by Jane Meller, and was a tribute to the NHS (see photo right). Jane has worked her socks off for the NHS during the present pandemic.
The tree and its theme reminded you what it’s all about. Very powerful.

_ _
A proper staycation!

A lot of us have been thinking twice about holidays (again!), so here’s an idea: why not go on holiday in Draycott?
Believe it or not, there are some beautiful wooden chalets, set in their own peaceful woodland estate, right here in this district. Perfect for a good relax.

Greenvale Barn

Yes, you can hire the ‘Greenvale Barn’ (sleeps 2 adults & 2 kids), among others, yet travel less than a mile!
The barns are set in Huntley Wood (up at Draycott Cross), where the owners converted the old quarry into woodland adventure area some years ago – and they have now extended into holiday lets, with nature all around.
It looks magical.

_ _
Lighting up time for artwork

Finally, you may have read about the installation of a new artwork at our local library centre in Blythe Bridge. The lamp-shades (thirty three in all) were all made by local community crafts groups, who painstakingly created, and sewed together, hundreds of panels to make the shades. Each panel tells a local story; one panel even tells the story of the old Colours factory in Cresswell.
Read the full report here.

If you want to see it in person yourself, the last chance this year is on Tuesday (21st), which is the last day the library is open before the Xmas holiday.
But it will still be up for a long time, so no need to rush along.

_ _
Festive wishes

And talking of the season…. A merry (and safe) Christmas and Happy New Year to us all !!! Let’s hope 2022 is a little better than 2021…

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

News: Covid (again) / N Plan abandoned / Xmas projects / Cash criticised

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early December 2021
In this post we have news of…: Covid concerns (again) / Neighbourhood Plan abandoned / village group’s projects / MP Sir Bill criticised

For news of Christmas carol events, Xmas dances and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
Covid issues

Covid just simply go away. A new variant (the ‘Omicron’) is now out there and we in north Staffordshire has to face it. It could be that the unvaccinated (still a fifth of the population) are spreading it, so the drive to enable all these people to get jabbed is intense, and our local GPs have been diverted from their normal duties to help out. Whatever, the figures are not great: Staffordshire has seen around 100,000 cases during the pandemic and the numbers in the English Midlands are not falling, so masks are now compulsory again in shops and on public transport. Sigh.
That said, case figures in the Staffs Moorlands (which is us) are dropping – deaths are zero this week in this part of the world (though hundreds of people are still sick). But what will be the Omicron effect?

Local organisations are trying to respond appropriately.
The Draycott Sports Centre has cancelled its kids’ Xmas party, which is perhaps understandable, but Tean cancelled its Lights Switch-On, even though it’s held outdoors. This month’s Draycott Council meeting has been cancelled. There’s even a thought that the award-winning Draycott Covid Support Group, which had stood down, should be revived.
However, for all that, most events are going ahead as normal. Most of us are trying to be careful, and the general feeling seems to be “don’t panic: carry on!”. See our What’s On page.

_ _
Cheers

Some definite Christmas cheer has already come to those who subscribed to the Draycott Xmas Calendar project. Over 150 of us signed up to get a 2022 calendar, which includes twelve pictures of the district for the twelve months of the year; and they arrived last week. Special seasonal cards were also available.
Congrats to Bev Reardon and her team for a heart-warming initiative.

Christmas cards designed and sold by the Draycott community group are already arriving!

By the way Bev & company are not stopping there, but will be planting thousands of daffodil bulbs over the next few days. The aim is to have a lovely display (on Church Bank mostly) this Spring.

_ _
Plan collapse

Draycott village council has had a dismal year, with resignations and all sorts, and it’s all rather summed up by the council’s decision now to abandon any hope of putting together a neighbourhood-plan. Three of their attempts have already ended in failure, so it was not surprising.

This is not a good thing. It is, admittedly, a deal of work to get an official Neighbourhood Plan agreed, but, as soon as it’s done, the district can then attract a lot of money in grants, and also have influence over the way the district is developed. Other village councils have managed it successfully – so why can’t Draycott Council?

By the way, you may also have noticed that an odd Twitter feed for the council (see pic right) popped up earlier some months ago, yet doesn’t seem to be doing anything…
When a resident enquired why the Twitter account had been set up without a formal vote in a meeting, councillors then claimed not to be aware of it (even though one councillor had put a post on it under his own name!!). All very odd.

_ _
MP criticised

The sleaze allegations, which hit MPs in Parliament last month after the ‘Owen Paterson Affair’, have reminded people that concerns about the way MPs manage their jobs have been going on for some time.
(Our local MP, Sir Bill Cash, got hit with a £15,000 penalty some years ago over ethical standards).

Irritation with the way MPs often employ their own family members – at taxpayers’ expense – got to a point in 2017 when rules were passed to prevent it – but older MPs were exempted and allowed to carry on doing it. The hope was that these older MPs (including Sir Bill) would eventually stop it. But, no, not Sir Bill – he still employs his wife in his parliamentary office, and criticism has been fired at him again for this.

Sir Bill Cash
Sir Bill

By the way, has anyone seen Sir Bill?
Other MPs have returned to doing surgeries, commenting on local matters, and appearing at local events. However, Sir Bill has been noticeably absent from this area (though we are told he did make an appearance at the Cheadle Remembrance Day service). His local webpage is almost blank of news of him.
Why doesn’t Bill like to come here much?

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS of: court case / path blocked / calendar / community fund

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid October 2021
In this post we have news of…: man convicted of criminal driving / a community calendar / footpath obstructed / decision on ‘Solar’ community fund

For news of a song-writers’ concert and other events in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
Criminal driving

There are, thankfully, very few serious road accidents in Draycott, but one of them, back in early 2019, was a very bad one, resulting in the death of a fifty-year old man.
Last month, a jury also decided that it had been a case of criminal carelessness – and the man causing the accident, Usman Farooq, from Middleport in Stoke, has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
It seems that Mr Farooq, in a rush, had cut across the dual carriageway near the Chandni Cottage restaurant and crashed with a motorbike. The man on the motorbike, Martin Barker, died in hospital of his injuries.

The incident reminds us that cars are lethal weapons; there can never be a good reason to dash about in one.

And yet another accident on the dual carriageway A few weeks ago, this car and its driver came off the road. No one was hurt
Draycott calendar (pic: Bev Reardon)

_ _
Local calendar published

It’s good to see that the first-ever Cresswell, Draycott & Totmonslow Community Calendar will be on sale in time for Christmas.

Organised by community activist Bev Reardon, there was, at first, a photo-competition to gather in people’s views of the district (well done to Ritchie Bellis, whose effort was awarded first prize!), and from it, the twelve pictures were selected. Now twelve sponsors have also come forward, so printing has been secured. There’s even enough in the pot to print some Christmas cards.

Soon you should get a leaflet through your letterbox with all the details of how to buy one (just £6, folks!) – or, keep an eye on the village Facebook page for updates.
Any profits from the project will be used for beautification initiatives in the village – Bev welcomes any suggestions.

It’s really great to see a proper community project like this. Let’s hope it becomes an annual event…

_ _
Blythe Colours Memories

Talking of community projects, anyone who worked at the old Blythe Colours Factory in Cresswell, or whose family did, is invited to a memories session at Cheadle Library on Friday November 12th (from 9am to 1pm).
Visitors are encouraged to bring in photos or other memorabilia of their time at the works.

This is going to be a well-organised event, with one-to-one recording available, and former Colours employees on hand to make notes of people’s memories.
If you feel you can contribute, just drop in – or book a one-to-one session by phoning Cheadle Library.

Visit of Stoke Lord Mayor Cllr Doug Brown JP and the Lady Mayoress, 1983
Remember this? Visit of Stoke Lord Mayor Cllr Doug Brown to the Colour Works in 1983

Afterwards, the memories will be gathered and placed in the Blythe Colours community archive, which is held at Blythe Library. In fact, there’s also likely a full-scale exhibition on the theme sometime in the future – probably Spring next year.

_ _
Community’s fund?

Earlier this year, a resident raised a query about the ‘Newton Solar Array Community Fund’. This fund consists of money donated annually, by the owners of the local solar farm, for community projects within the Draycott-in-the-Moors district. The owners authorised the village council to choose which projects should receive the money.
However, the resident noticed that a lot of the fund was not going to grassroots projects, but paying for projects that the village council itself was responsible for. The resident thought that that was not quite right… and objected.

Well, a few months ago, the owners of the solar farm, RES, stepped in to the row, and suggested that the village council limit itself to half the funds. This suggestion has been rejected by councillors, who said that, in their view, “the council IS the community”, and they wouldn’t even contemplate the idea of a limit.
RES has accepted that decision.

Still…, that view of it seems strange to us. Surely it’s a bit like the government using Lottery money to pay for motorways? Would the nation’s electors be happy with that?
We pay our taxes – both to the national government, and to the village council – for what’s necessary. Shouldn’t these authorities be content with that?

Draycott Fayre 2021 – with the Knight! (pic: Neil Archibald)

However, one happy decision is that village councillors have decided that the St Margaret’s Annual Fayre should have a grant of £750, from this same Solar Array Fund, to defray outstanding costs from this year’s event.
The fayre, held last August, was unexpectedly down on visitors this year – probably because of Covid – but it is Draycott’s biggest community event, so it surely deserves support in what has been a lean year for it.

Currently, there is around £4000 in the Solar Array Fund. If you have an idea on how it could be spent in the community – please contact the council clerk.

_ _
Footpath blocked

Many of us are getting a bit fed up with the amount of paths being blocked in our local countryside. Sometimes, it’s wanton vandalism, sometimes it’s natural issues (like a fallen tree), but sometimes it seems almost deliberate.
This was the case this month with the small gate beside the railway line in Painsley. The gate is there, installed by the county’s countryside department, as a useful way to force people to think twice before they cross the line (it’s legal to cross the railway line at this point).
But someone had padlocked the gate – leaving no note as to why – meaning some walkers had to turn round and trudge back to where they had come from.
Fortunately, a former county-council officer spotted the illegal closure, and the offending padlock has now been removed.

We do understand that footpaths can be an irritation to some but … they are legal rights of way. There are also proper methods to challenge a footpath if you don’t like its presence.

If you are on a walk and spot a blocked footpath, you can now report it quite easily – click here for details.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

NEWS of: new defib / fayre good report / ‘tower captain’ / laptops needed

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid September 2021
In this post we have news of…: Third defibrillator for Draycott / reports of the fayre / bell-ringers’ news / save your old laptops

For news of an arts & crafts market and other events in our area, please go to our What’s On page

_ _
New defib for village

Excellent news is that Draycott-in-the-Moors now has a new public defibrillator – which was installed at the Draycott Arms just a couple of weeks ago.

Defib at The Arms

A defibrillator is a little unit which is used to deliver a mild electric shock to anyone who is in cardiac arrest, and so it can save lives. It is not a substitute for calling 999, but, when minutes count, it can be used while you’re waiting for the ambulance.

Well done to the parish council for facilitating the project, but well-done chiefly of course to the donors. These units are not provided by the authorities; cash is needed. And well done too to the Arms; the system will feed off the pub’s electric supply – without that, the mechanism could fail.

The new unit brings the number of defibrillators in the locality to three – joining the long-established one in the Cresswell kiosk and the one at Draycott Sports Centre. It’s hoped one may be installed at The Golden Keg in the future.

_ _
Fayre enough

It’s a bit after the event, yes, but we should mention the Draycott Fayre, which took place on August 22nd.
Despite having to be organised very much at the last minute (to ensure it was Covid-friendly), things went smoothly and a good day was had by all. The Stunner newspaper did the event proud by giving it a centre-spread in its pages, using photographs taken by Neil Archibald.

Centre-pages coverage of Draycott Fayre in the Stunner (Cheadle & Tean Times)

(Neil Archibald is one of the stalwarts at Draycott St Margaret’s Church. Many of the church’s congregation were helping on the day, because the funds raised go toward the maintenance of our 800 year-old church).
Neil has put an album of dozens of photos of the day on to the Flickr website on the internet – click here to see them. There’s a nice sense of humour to them, so well worth checking out!

Of course, the numbers of visitors were well down on previous years, so the church won’t get its usual level of funding from the fayre this year, but still well-done to John Clarke and his team for making it happen, against the odds…

_ _
Aye aye captain

Talking of John Clarke, congratulations to him on being appointed ‘Tower Captain’ at St Margaret’s. The moniker sounds grander than it is (!), but it is an old title, meaning the leader of a church’s bell-ringers.

The Draycott St Margarets bell-ringing team, with John Clarke third from right (pic: St Margaret’s website)

The team at the church will be busy practising over the next months for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year, when bells will ring right across the country.
They always need volunteers (and it’s great way to keep fit), so, if you fancy a go, email John.

If you enjoy bells (and who doesn’t?), there’s nothing more calming than to sit outside the church on an evening when the team are practising (usually Thursdays). It’s a great way to relieve stress, honest…

_ _
Old makes new

Finally, don’t throw away your unwanted computers. Members of our local Rotary Club are asking for donations of second-hand hand laptops/tablets, which they will refurbish and pass on to neighbourhood schools.

The need for more computers for children is a Covid thing, because so many kids have had to go online for their education, and sometimes even just to catch up on what they’ve been missing – so kids without a lot of access to a computer are having a hard time.

By the way, if you’re concerned about any data that might be still on your computer, don’t worry. The promise is that the computers will be first ‘wiped’ by a professional technician, which makes it a great option.
Rotary’s Peter Nixon is also offering to come pick up the old computers; or you can drop them off at Blythe Bridge Library. Contact Peter for details.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Planters project – done!

Over the last four years, the Draycott planters project has gradually come to fruition. It’s been a long and hard slog, but it now seems complete, and this summer has seen a lovely flowering of the plants in them.

The village ended up with eleven planters in all: two at the eastern ‘gateway’, two at the end of Stuart Avenue, two at the Cheadle Rd bus top, and one each at the ‘Village Centre’, Brookside, and Totmonslow – though the ones at Draycott West and at Cresswell have sadly been stolen in the last couple of months.

The whole initiative (see pics of examples, below) was the brain-child of local resident Lee Warburton, who took it on himself to construct most of the planters, with donations for the wood coming from the community (firstly through a Crowdfunder scheme in 2017) and a matching grant from the ‘Draycott Solar Fund’. Combined, all this raised around £500.

  • Planters, Draycott bus shelter
  • Planter sponsored by Horizon, Stuart avenue
  • Planters at Stuart Avenue
  • Planter, by Lee Warburton

However, then there was a big hiccup – the County Council introduced some red tape into the process. As ‘street furniture’, the planters needed licences. And so followed a pause of a frustrating few months!
Things only got fully rolling again in 2020, with the purchase of compost and flowers via the Staffordshire Covid-19 Fund, at which time students at Draycott Moor College came along, giving much-needed help with the planting.

Also round about this time, the village council felt it was time to make the whole scheme ‘official’, and stepped in to adopt the project (though its involvement did cause some £500 of unforeseen extra costs).
A further grant of £250 from the Solar Array Fund was sought, to pay our local horticulturalists (at Draycott Nurseries) to maintain the planters professionally for 2021 – and so keep the good blooms in fine shape!
All in all, the project has cost around £1500 since it kicked off, including those grants and donations from residents.

(Pic: Facebook)

It should be remembered however that much of the effort, including building and varnishing the planters, has been voluntary. Lee should get the most of the thanks, but a number of other residents have been instrumental too.
And now, the project is complete.

Future

The future seems safe too, as Draycott Nurseries have offered a sponsor arrangement, in which they will stock the planters each year. Grateful thanks go to Draycott Nurseries.

The ultimate responsibility (and maintenance) lies with the village council however. So, it has been out there recruiting volunteer local residents, who it wants to look after the individual planters – watering, weeding, feeding, and keeping a watchful eye.

With a little luck, and some good growing years, these nine planters will keep the village looking colourful for some time to come…

Just a little addition…

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the nine ‘official’ planters are not the only attractive horticultural sights in the neighbourhood.

Church Lane car park display

The planter at the end of Draycott Old Road has been there for over five years, tended by a local resident there, while the displays at the Church Lane car-park, Grange Farm (on Cheadle Road) and at the entrance to Meadowside, all also tended by local residents as a labour of love, are always guaranteed to lift the spirits.

You never know: at this rate, Draycott could start thinking about entering the Britain In Bloom competition!

***
Want to comment on this article?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

NEWS: milestone / DCAT / houses for sale / outdoor spinning

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-March 2021
In this post we have news of…: listed milestone repaired / new local action group / outdoor gym! / speciality houses for sale.

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

_ _ _
Heritage monument repair

It’s not always realised, but a lot of those old cast-iron mileposts you see around the Moorlands are actually ‘listed’ monuments. The parish of Draycott-in-the-Moors has a dozen certified heritage structures, and the milepost opposite the entry to Breach Lane in Totomonslow is one of them.
Which is why it was a matter of concern to see it falling to one side.

Totmonslow milestone in 2020

This particular milepost has been in place for 200 years, so maybe it was not surprising that it was starting to totter. It is on the side of a bank too, so it’s possible the heavy rains of this last winter were making the ground under it very soft.

Totmonslow milepost 2021

A conscientious resident reported the issue to the clerk of the village council, who passed the matter on to the heritage department of the county council. You might not believe this – but the repairs were completed less than a month later! Now all is well again. So, for once, the system worked, and it worked very well.

(Just a little footnote: the parish has three milestones altogether, the others being on Cresswell Lane and on the Hilderstone road. Strangely, only the Totmonslow one is deemed to be of heritage importance. No one is sure why).

_ _ _
New action group

Things have been very tough over the last twelve months, as we all know, but at least the year 2021 is a chance for new beginnings. Cross fingers.

Here in Draycott, spring has brought not just daffodils but the new DCAT (Draycott, Cresswell And Totmonslow) Community Action Group. A trio of active local people (who already manage the village Facebook group) – Lee Warburton, Louise Parks & Bev Reardon – have started the ball rolling.
The idea is to make a concentrated effort to gather the views & ideas of residents, and drive those ideas forward. The next step is formalise how this DCAT group will work. Watch this space!

_ _ _
Get spinning

As we all know, the first step back to normality (we hope) comes soon, on March 29th, when some Covid rules will be relaxed (though only a few, admittedly).
One organisation that has thought this through is the Draycott Sports & Fitness Centre, where some activities are set to return.

One activity that they have announced is one that has never been tried before – outdoor spinning! Yes, the static bikes used for spinning will be hauled outside, and participants will do what they do out in the fresh air. That makes the whole thing Covid-permissible.
So, if all those hundreds of Peloton adverts on the TV have inspired you, but you don’t have a bike of your own, then here’s your chance to have a go!

First session is on 31st March – but do book early. Bikes are limited. /

_ _ _
Got half-a-million to spare?

A couple of houses have come up for sale in the district, and both offer quite a lot of privacy (if you like that sort of thing).
The Old Cart Shed, as it’s called (see pic below), is one of the results of the renovations at old Totmonslow Farm, where the old barns were marked for demolition a couple of years ago. And (you guessed it), this new house is on the site of the old structures.
It’s a classy new-build with field-views, definitely not your standard red-brick. Trouble is: your pockets will need to be deep, as it is on the market for over £500,000.

At the other end of the district, at Blythe Vale, hidden away up Woodlands Lane, you’ll find a bungalow for £300,000. (For an extra £50,000, they’ll throw in a plot of empty land too). It’s next to one of the service entries to the new Blythe Fields Estate, so you could probably use the facilities on the estate (playgrounds etc) if you wanted to.


***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to 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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us