Category Archives: development

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) 

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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NEWS of: odd lamp-post / Cresswell housing / Jubilee / Gandhi is back

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early June 2022
In this post we have news of…: Cresswell housing estate on horizon / Gandhi Restaurant back / quiet jubilee / leaning lamp-post…
There are also lots of events in and around our district this next few weeks! A tractor run and a scarecrow festival 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) 

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One step closer for Cresswell housing

Even though permission was granted six years ago for a housing estate to be built in Cresswell, nothing solid has really happened since then. Until now…

First, a housing company has come forward to build it. Elan Homes, which has already built half-a-dozen other estates in Staffordshire, mostly in the south of the county, has been appointed to create ‘Blythe Park’, as it will be called. They have agreed to build all the 150-plus homes on the site.
Secondly, plans have now been published (outlining: the types of homes to be built, the roadways, and the estate’s lay-out (including green features, playgrounds etc). See picture below. The lay-out is not much different to that suggested in the original outline.
The plans will need planning permission before anything can happen.

A residents’ group, headed up by Luke Emery, is now studying the plans and is already wondering why three-storey houses have been included. As Luke says, such tall houses are not in keeping with the appearance of the hamlet of Cresswell.
The group will be taking its conclusions to the next meeting of the village council (on June 13th); so, if you want to understand more about all this, it would be worth going along. Luke will also explain how local people can put in effective official comments on the plans.

One thing that is a bit confusing is that two sets of plans for the estate have been submitted by Elan.
The first set of plans presumes that a roundabout will be built on Sandon Road (i.e. at the entrance to the estate); the second set of plans presumes that there will be no roundabout. Confusing.
It’s confusing because the fact is we all believed that a roundabout was going to be built on Sandon Road, for sure – after all, it is the residents’ much preferred option!
However, a little bird tells us that Elan are about to appeal against the roundabout decision, which is depressing news.

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The leaning lamp-post

Talking of Cresswell, has anyone else noticed the leaning lamp-post (see pic right)? (It’s not far from the sports centre).
It doesn’t seem to have been knocked – there are no marks on it – but it’s not unsteady either; it seems fairly sturdy actually.

Was it put in like this?

It’s all a bit mysterious.

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Quiet Jubilee

The Queen’s Jubilee passed rather quietly in Draycott. Only a few houses bothered with bunting or flags, and there was only one related event (the sausages festival at The Draycott Arms).
Maybe Draycott is secretly full of republicans (?).

However, the council did buy a few lengths of bunting ahead of the weekend; volunteers put them up on bus-shelters etc a few days before, which brightened the place up a bit, if nothing else.

  • Jubilee bunting on old Cresswell Bridge
  • Flag flies for Jubilee at St Margaret's Church, Draycott

One roll of bunting was laid along the old bridge in Cresswell, where a local historian made an interesting remark. “That old bridge,” he said, “dates back around 300-400 years… which means it’s seen more than a dozen British monarchs come and go.”

That puts things in perspective…!

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Welcome back, Gandhi

It has been a long two years, but the Gandhi Restaurant, at the southern end of Cresswell, has finally re-opened its doors. During the pandemic, the restaurant managed to survive, but only by operating as a take-away.
Following the relaxation of the Covid rules earlier this year, the owners also decided to organise a full renovation, which meant a few more weeks delay. Returning customers will find it looks quite different.

The owner, Nazim Uddin Ahmed (known to everyone as Ali), told us it was only because of loyal customers having take-aways that the restaurant had kept going: “Thank you to all of them!”

Ali and team celebrate the Jubilee with a special Queen’s Curry dish!

This news means that the two businesses that share the building, the Gandhi and The Hunter Pub, are now both fully open again.

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NEWS: planning protests / solar farms / Colour Works pic / help for Ukraine

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early March 2022
In this post we have news of…: help for Ukraine / protests at road changes / solar farms to come? / Colour Works exhibition…

For news of a barn dance and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Ukraine

First, we just have to mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For anybody who believes in democracy and justice, it’s a horrific act.
But, already people in our part of the world are responding – with charity drives, donations of goods, and plain old-fashioned money.

The ‘Little DrayTots Baby and Toddler Group’, which meets at Draycott Church Hall, is a contact point for goods collections for Ukraine, while the actual local drop-off point for the local Help Ukraine project is the Country Interiors shop on High Street in Cheadle.
At Hilderstone, the next village south of Cresswell, they are having a one-day Donate for Ukraine event on Thurs March 10 from 10am-7pm.  Items required are: medical supplies, bandages, basic paracetamol etc., plasters, batteries, nappies, sanitary protection, toiletries.
You may feel that you just want to give money; and the safest and most efficient way to do that is through the UK’s International Disasters Emergency Fund.
Let’s hope to God that this all can be solved quickly and peacefully, and that Putin is forced never to do this again.

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Those road structure proposals

As was reported a month ago, the developers of Cresswell’s Blythe Business Park – who want to put in a large industrial estate and a large housing estate there – are also responsible for building road-junction measures (on Draycott level and in central Cresswell) to control all the new traffic that will arise.
The developers were originally committed to ‘de-luxe’ improvements, but have now said they only want to put in cheaper ones. (See full details).

New road system (and housing estate) to come for Cresswell?

There was a passionate open meeting last week, under the auspices of Draycott Council, with some twenty residents in attendance, and much opposition to the new plans.
As a result, around thirty letters of protest from local residents (which is a very large number for these sorts of matters) have now been formally registered on the portal of this planning application. One of those letters was recently re-published on the Cresswell website (click here to see it).

If you too want your voice heard, you only have till Monday 7th March, which is when the consultation closes. To see other comments, simply go to the application webpage. To register your own comment, just hit the ‘Comment’ button on that page, and write in your thoughts.

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Solar energy

Talking of consultations, two other ones, both for proposed solar-energy projects, are currently under way for this district. Solar ‘farms’, as they are known, are of course a way of producing electricity without using fossil fuels, so they are crucial in this age of climate change.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)
Photo of a typical solar energy farm

You may remember that, back in 2015, our first solar farm was constructed at Lower Newton (between Cresswell and Totmonslow). Well now the owners of that want to expand their site into an adjacent, new set-up – to be called Blythe House Solar Farm, (aka Blythe Solar Farm) – while a quite different firm have plans for another site, to be called Totmonslow Solar Farm.

This district is apparently a good place for these projects because it has rolling hills (i.e. no obtrusive sight-lines) and because there is a lot of under-used land. The farmers whose land is rented for these projects are also very happy!

The Draycott environmental group is, as you’d guess, very in favour of these projects being passed.
One of their members also reminded us that these firms will also make hefty annual contributions to worthwhile projects in Draycott & area, if and when they get their plans accepted. As the sites could remain viable for 40 years, that’s a lot of money going into local good causes!
(In fact, grant-money from the first solar project is already available to the community – if you have a good idea for a neighbourhood project, please take a look and maybe apply for a grant).

Totmonslow Solar Farm logo

To see more details on the Totmonslow Solar Farm proposal, please click here.
To comment on the Totmonslow Solar Farm proposal, please click here. This consultation is open for comments until the 13th March.
To see more details on the Blythe House Solar Farm proposal, please click here. To comment on the Blythe House Solar Farm proposal, please click here.

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Blast from the Works past

Finally, it was good to see a post from Ben Knight on the Blythe Colours Memories facebook page. Ben is the great-great-grandson of Blythe Colour Works founder, Frederick Wildblood, and tells us that he recently inherited some items relating to the old Colour Works in Cresswell (which was a huge employer locally, and was in operation here for well over seventy years).

Among his heirlooms, he discovered this 1937 sketch (above) for the Proposed Offices for the factory – and you can still see this building on the business park today. A lovely reminder of days gone by.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in the history of the Colour Works, there is to be an exhibition soon of photos and documents relating to the works at Blythe Bridge Library. It will take place all across April. Remember to put that on your calendars!

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NEWS: road plans / tax rise / artwork / Malcolm retires /

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid February 2022
In this post we have news of…: anger about road changes / Malcolm Price retires / Oak Tree Farm vacancy / community artwork at library / council tax

For news of an Ed Sheeran tribute night and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Residents’ anger

As we’ve been reporting, new plans for the areas of road at the Cresswell Lane-Uttoxeter Rd junction and at central Cresswell have now been submitted to the authorities, and will come up for decision soon.
These works must compulsorily be paid for by the housing developers Scentarea, as an integral part of their project to build a large industrial estate on the business park site.
For full details of the plans and how they might affect residents, click here.

The plan, for the junction where Cresswell Lane meets Uttoxeter Road, is for it to have traffic lights

Residents in central Cresswell are particularly angry about the plans for their bit because they are a significant downgrade on what they’d been assured would happen five years ago. A small group has been holding meetings in the Cresswell lay-by (where the works will happen) to discuss strategy.

(It’s a shame to have to say that, out of the nine local councillors who represent this district, only two have attended these meetings. When you consider that these works will be the biggest infrastructure change to the district for forty years, one might have expected a bigger turn-out from councillors).
Anyway, councillors Pete Wilkinson and Glyn Johnson did make the effort to turn up to the meetings, and, thanks to Pete, the planning authorities have agreed to postpone their decision by a fortnight, which gives everyone a bit more chance to air the issues.

In fact, a number of official letters of complaint have already been lodged with the planning authority. (For the letters, click here, and then scroll down to the bottom of that page to read them). A particularly detailed one from resident Michelle Steele sums up the issues pretty well…!
The next discussion of the plans will come at the next Draycott council meeting on Monday 14th Feb.

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Council tax

Talking of Draycott council, earlier this month the members debated what amount of money would be needed for its activities in the forthcoming financial year. This amount then translates into the annual ‘precept’ (i.e. the council’s council tax demand).
The council decided on a 2% tax increase, which includes an award to the clerk of the council of a 4% raise in wages.

What we’d like to see as part of this process is some sort of plan for the coming twelve months on how this money is to be spent – the projects in the pipeline, a note of the major issues the council will be addressing and so on. Some councils even do five-year plans, but we don’t expect miracles…
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Farewell Malcolm

A familiar figure round the village is Malcolm Price, the official litter-picker. You’ll see him walking the pavements gathering MacDonald’s cartons, plastic bottles etc that have been chucked on the floor by careless citizens. Blue bin bags, full to the brim and waiting for pick-up, are usually a sign he has been by.

Well, Malcolm has decided the time is right to retire. At the age of 79, he feels that crossing and re-crossing the busy roads of Draycott is just too risky.
So… happy retirement, Malcolm…!

(If you’re wondering what’s happening about litter in the interim, it’s lovely to report that a mother & child volunteer team has stepped forward temporarily, as part of a Duke Of Edinburgh Scheme project).
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Artwork lights

If you haven’t been along recently to our local library in Blythe Bridge, it’s worth the trip, just to see its new community artwork (see pic below)

Consisting of twenty or so lampshades with a total of 300 panels stitched into them, the whole thing was made by community groups at the library over the last six months. Each panel in the lamp-shades tells a story from the history of the district, from the railways to factories to famous events.
Draycottians will notice a special Blythe Colours Works panel and a Draycott Fayre panel.
Best time to see it is toward dusk, when the panels really shine brightly.
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Oak Tree expands

Finally, if you’re looking for a straightforward job where you can do a bit of good too, a vacancy for a cook has come up in the Oak Tree Farm Project’s public tea-room, which is about to re-open soon.
The farm, which lies about two miles south of Cresswell, is well known for its work with people with learning disabilities. On the farm the participants learn crafts, do gardening, and help in the tea-room and in the plants & crafts shop.
During Covid, the project even managed to expand by developing its shop on to a new part of the site.

If you do ever fancy a drive out, it’s a calming place to go. Recommended!

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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.
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NEWS of: no roundabouts? / cricket changes / local painter / decor at Arms

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late January 2022
In this post we have news of…: changes to village roundabout plans? / dazzling decor at Arms / local artist’s work / changes at cricket club

For news of a Burns’ Night do, a singer coming to Fulford and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Roundabouts plan to be sidelined?

For a few months now, rumours have been circulating that the plan for two roundabouts – one in the centre of Draycott and one in Cresswell – was about to be dumped. Sure enough, it looks like it could happen.

Way back in 2016, the developers behind the proposed huge expansion of the business park in Cresswell were told by planning officers that they’d need also to fund two roundabouts – to cope with all the extra expected traffic, including the lots more of HGVs. One roundabout would be built in Cresswell (where the lay-by is now) and one in the centre of Draycott (at the bottom of Church Lane).
They would be complicated to build, and expensive, but the council’s planners believe they are necessary.

Well, eight years later (!), the developers have put forward their alternative plan: no roundabouts.
Instead, the new propositions can be summed up like this: Cresswell would get just an extra, turning traffic-lane added (like the set-up at the T-junction at the top of Cresswell Lane), while the Draycott-centre junction would just be controlled by traffic lights.

In this diagram (above) the green hammerhead shape on Sandon Rd is where the new access to Blythe Park will go (eventually): no longer a roundabout, in this latest proposal, but a three lane t-junction
(By the way, the houses you see to the right of Sandon Road in this diagram haven’t actually been built yet – just in case you were wondering!)

Some residents will definitely welcome this: the roundabouts would have created permanent disruption for around a dozen households.
However, the problem is obvious: the new plan has the potential to create snarl-ups and backed-up traffic, both on Sandon Road and on Draycott level. It all depends on whether the planning officers accept the developers’ (new) traffic-flow assessments.

This planning application is now before Staffs Moorlands Council, and all residents have a right to submit a point of view on it. To check out the application, and make a comment – just click here.

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Degg digs in

You can tell winter’s nearly over when cricket clubs start to announce their plans for the coming season.
Blythe Cricket Club (whose ground is in Cresswell) are no different, having just announced who their new captain is to be, and who their main sponsor for 2022 is.
The appointment of Scott Degg as captain is very welcome. Scott is a steady hand, which will be needed in 2022: Blythe had a rocky season last year, and only just escaped relegation from the NSSCL Division One.

Scott Degg – photo credit Blythe CC

The 2022 sponsor for the club is Thermograde, a chemicals company based in Stone.
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Dazzling décor

Valentines is in the air, and Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms are encouraging sweethearts of all ages to think about a hearts&roses night (or two) at the ‘Inn In The Moors’ – the holiday flat which now has pride of place on the upstairs floor of the Arms.

New photos that have been released show what a special set of rooms the ‘Inn’ accommodation contains. Some amazing murals and an extremely stylish approach to interior design mark it all out as something the old Arms has never ever seen before!

Inn in The Moors, at the Draycott Arms

Roll on Valentines…

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Artist in residence

It’s a strange thing but many of us here in Draycott & District hadn’t heard of John Bullock’s paintings until he exhibited at the Artists Collective Show in Shropshire last autumn.
John lives in the village, and, even though he didn’t start painting until he was 65, now sells his work to collectors from as far away as Germany.
Though his big thing is landscapes, he does do commissions, and his picture of Grange Farm (the farm on Cheadle Road just up from the Arms pub) was one such commission.

Grange Farm by John Bullock (photo credit John Bullock)

You can check out John’s work (and commission something from him if you like!), by accessing his Facebook page.

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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.
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NEWS: councillors needed / Blythe Vale Estate? no comment!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late August 2021
In this post we have news of…: extension for councillor applications / lack of response to Blythe Vale proposals

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

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More time to apply to be on the council

As you may know, the village council of Draycott is currently looking for three new councillors, after vacancies came about earlier this year.
The deadline to apply had been September 6th, but the good news that it’s just been extended to September 13th. So, if you’re only just back from the beach, relax, you still have time to get your thoughts together…

Got something to say? Nominate yourself!

Being a village councillor is extremely easy. The qualifications required are very basic (like being over eighteen); and there are no particular duties once you’ve been selected. If you’re thinking that nothing could be that easy(!), click on the Download button (opens as a WORD doc) to get some more details.

But, yes, it really is what you make it. In fact, the only big thing is that you need to care a lot about Draycott, or Cresswell or Totmonslow (the council’s local area) or, preferably, all three!

To apply for the role, all you have to do is write a letter to Draycott Council (at 3 The Island, ST10 4JE) with your name and address and saying why you’d make a good councillor for our little district. And make sure it will arrive by September 13th!

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Blythe Vale Phase 2 rolls on

Goodness knows we need new councillors! The present crop are failing us miserably.

As you’ll know, the latest big housing development proposed for this area, Blythe Vale 2, which will add a further 200+ homes to the 100+ already being built on Blythe Vale 1 (also known as Blythe Fields), is poised for approval.

The Blythe Vale 1 (Blythe Fields) estate is in blue, the proposed Blythe Vale 2 estate is in red

The basic plans were published a few months ago – and the developers (St Modwen) are now calling for a decision on them. It’s likely that a conclusive, big meeting will be held at Leek sometime in October or November, at a sitting of the regional Planning Committee.
So – seeing as this is a hugely significant moment – what have our village councillors – both at parish and district level – been doing about it? Er. Mmm. …nothing!

We are told that St Modwen organised a private get-together with our councillors as long ago as April – but there has been no report, or even a quick summary of what was said, and no public statement issued by our councillors. We wonder why.
Even a few weeks ago, a public meeting took place on the matter at Draycott Church Hall, at which representatives from St Modwen took questions – but only two of our councillors showed up.

After that less than impressive showing, you’d think that the least that our councillors could do would be to put in some formal responses to the proposals, even if they were just short ones. But…
If you go to the Blythe Vale 2 Plans Application Page and take a look, you’ll see that a number of local residents have in fact submitted comments – and well done to them. But our councillors’ thoughts are not there – they didn’t bother to write anything. The deadline for comments was the 24th August.

So, despite having three months to think about it, and even though it is an issue which will affect this community for decades to come, our village council failed to address this matter or to engage with the local electors – which is depressing.
Fortunately for our councillors, the Planning Committee has just announced today that it will extend the consultation comments period – so let’s hope we now see definitely see something from them.
St Modwen must be clapping their hands with joy to think how slow our current council has been.
We really deserve better. Roll on the new councillors.

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Second estate for Draycott

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

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

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

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

Green credentials

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

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

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

“Nothing can be done”

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

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

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

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

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NEWS: flood-zones / new estate / rail-path news / fines for dog-mess

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late-April 2021
In this post we have news of…: Draycott flood zones / old railway path plans / £100 fines for dog-mess / Totmonslow homes nearly sold out.

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

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High water Draycott

It has come as quite a shock to learn that two road locations in the middle of Draycott have recently become classed – officially – as flood zones.
The government map (see below) now lists the spots (in dark blue): one on Uttoxeter Road off Fords Field and one outside The Old Rectory in Cheadle Road.
People have been jokingly talking about the Uttoxeter Road flooding issue as ‘Draycott Lake’ for some time now, but we all thought it was temporary or freak stuff. Well, it appears not.

In a talk to our village council last month, Paula Lees, Staffordshire’s Community Highways Engagement Officer, said that Highways are even considering putting up flood warning signs in these areas.

Apparently, these flooding incidents are not simply down to the fact that gullies are not being cleared properly. While that has contributed to the problems (and it’s possible that there may also be blockages stuck in the system, causing damming effects in heavy rain), Ms Lees said that some of the problems are man-made – and the community has to sort those out for itself.

So, it’s fairly clear (to us) what must happen: Draycott Council must form a steering group, with both councillors and expertise from the community on it, and sort the issues out.

Draycott Council has a truly dismal record of achievement over the last twelve months (see our article – Draycott Council’s 2020 – Councillors Should Resign), so maybe this is a chance for the councillors to get their collective finger out and actually do something significant.

Flash flooding Cheadle Road draycott
Flooding in Cheadle Road Draycott in 2019

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Activity plan for (some of) the railway path

It is interesting to see that Staffordshire Moorlands Council have included our old-railway path in their new Green Infrastructure Plan. (The old railway line ran from Cresswell to Totmonslow to Cheadle but finally closed in the 1970s, and is now a ‘greenway’ path.)

The old-railway path follows the middle bottom black line

As you can see from the map (above), the council is drawing up plans to develop bridleways, walking and even play areas along the northern part of the old line. But… this implies it only appears to have definite plans for the Cheadle to Huntley/Draycott-Cross stretch, and nothing for the Totmonslow to Cresswell stretch.

However, it is fair to say that the Totmonslow to Cresswell stretch does have outstanding issues, including problems over access.
As the Friends Of The Cresswell-Cheadle Rail Path have been finding out, the long-term future of the Totmonslow to Cresswell stretch of the path is, sadly, in doubt.

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New fines for careless dog owners

One of the most impressive changes in local public behaviour over the last ten years is the way that so many people now collect up their dogs’ mess on public pavements. Many local dog-owners now take out plastic bags with them routinely.

Many of us will remember the stencillings (see pic below) that local children painted on our pavements a decade ago – maybe it was these images that changed local people’s attitudes. It would be good to think so!

However, according to posts on the Draycott Facebook page, there are still some dog-owners who don’t clear up after their pets. (Dog faeces is not only unsightly and can be accidentally carried into the home on shoes, but can affect children if they touch traces of it and later rub their eyes).

Apparently, this is why Staffordshire Moorlands Council recently introduced a ‘Public Space Protection Order’ across the region – which could mean a £100 fixed-penalty for offenders who get caught. Even children in charge of a dog can be fined, though, legally, the debt would become the responsibility of the parent/carer.

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Sold out bungalows

Finally, if you were hoping to buy a house locally after lockdown, the bad news is that the five homes being built on the ‘Valley View’ plot at Totmonslow are virtually sold out – without a brick even being laid!

The site should be an interesting one when it is eventually finished. The homes are being constructed by Future Homes Developments, who describe themselves as “eco developers”, using new types of concrete.
We looked on their website for news of when the development should be finished, but unfortunately the website is badly out of date, so there was no information.

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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

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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).

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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!

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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. /

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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.


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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.
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NEWS: VJ bells / down a mine / ‘automatic’ planning / dance is back!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2020
In this post we have news of…: bells will ring for VJ Day / development in Draycott to speed up? / Cresswell dance studios open again / exploring Draycott Cross mine…

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Seventy-five sounds for VJ Day

The coronavirus situation has put paid too many public events this summer.
In Draycott, the July summer fayre and the Sausage & Cider Festival have been cancelled, and now, most of the official VJ Day Anniversary event marking the end of World War Two back in August 1945. St Margaret’s Church had plans for a peal of its ancient bells, a bagpipe salute, and even cream teas – but it won’t happen now.

But John Clarke, the organiser of the event, is a never-say-die sort of fellow, so he has come up with a solution. Though the whole bell-ringing team cannot be present, a lone bell-ringer can be – so John has volunteered to be that lone ringer, and he will ring one of the bells seventy-five times, as a solemn tribute.

John will ring one of the main tenor bells, both of which date back nearly 400 years.

Painted frame in St Margaret bell-chamber

A mighty heavy St Margaret’s Church bell, in its frame

The tenors are the heaviest bells in the set (of eight) – each weighing around an amazing hundred stone each – so John will be pretty tired by the time he’s finished!
We wish him the best.

The event takes place this Saturday (15th August) just after 11am.

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Down the mine

It seems like another bunch of ‘explorers’ have been able to access the old, now abandoned, Draycott Cross Mine. They have just posted a 30-min video of themselves, climbing down inside the entrance and walking along some of the passage-ways.
It’s not clear if they had permission. And, even if they had permission, it was an incredibly foolhardy thing to do; they don’t seem to have had proper breathing apparatus.

The colliery at the Draycott Cross location was spectacularly unsuccessful.  First dug in the 1860s, it’s quite likely that not an ounce of coal was ever drawn from it. The owners only seemed to maintain it because it was next to the southern end of the Draycott Cross Railway Tunnel (which was a short length of track cut through the hillside, carrying coal from New Haden Colliery to Cresswell – and thence to the main line to Stoke) – and the tunnel itself was closed and blocked off in 1933.

Railway Tunnel - Draycott End

Cheadle to Cresswell Railway tunnel – Draycott end

In fact, only two shafts were ever sunk at Draycott Cross; though one of those was developed as a borehole after the war and now forms part of a water pumping station.

One strange story told by older folks is that, when the Draycott collieries complex (including New Haden) were finally abandoned in 1942, a lot of old radios were dumped down the shafts. No-one who tells this story can explain why though.
We can tell you though that these recent ‘explorers’ found no radios where they went…

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More building to come

People in this district will have watched carefully the latest announcements about the major relaxation of the planning laws by this government.
As the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “On land designated for growth… new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be allowed automatically.”  What’s more, the prime minister has come up with £12 billion to spend on building houses over the next eight years.
Also householders will more easily be able to build extensions.

As we’ve pointed out more than once, developers already have their eyes on the possibilities of the high ridge above Draycott overlooking Uttoxeter Road. Well, these government proposals will make it much easier for them to be processed.

Naturally a lot of people are very worried that rogue developers will take the announcement as a green light for them, especially as local objections might now count for less and less. If it worries you, a national petition has now been established – click here for details.

The other patch of land which might now come back into play for development is the field between St Margaret’s Church and the sheltered housing complex. This ‘glebe-land’  was under discussion in 2013, but negotiations did not proceed. It will be interesting to see what effect the new pronouncements have.

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Quick Quick … back!

We’d like to be among those to congratulate the Quick Quick Slow Dance Studios on recently re-opening.

The Cresswell dance-hall had to close during lockdown and faced a struggle to survive during the months – but the two owners, Hannah & Duncan, responded really imaginatively, and kept the business going in various ways.
They put out a regular podcast full of dance music plus reading out requests from listeners, many of whom of course had been attending dances before lockdown.
They launched a fund-raising drive to keep the business alive – and clients responded wonderfully, more than doubling the target that had been set.
And, just as important, they kept in constant touch with their clients – and kept their spirits up – with a regular flow of news and fun on their social media outlets .
All in all, they did brilliantly.

QQS Studios

The QQS dance-floor in happier times

But…. how do you re-open a dance-hall? All that exercise (i.e. all that breathing-out) in an enclosed space is still prohibited.
In fact… at the moment QQS is really only open for private lessons (for ‘households’ or bubbles’), but also – believe it or not – if you’re really missing dancing, you can hire the whole dance-hall for a reasonable price, and then you and your ‘household/bubble’ can have your own private dance!
If you want to know more about lessons etc, phone Hannah on 07975 914 649.

Though it’s not clear when public dances will happen again in Cresswell, there is at last a date for public classes at QQS: these will re-commence next month.

Hopefully, the classes will bring a little more normality to our lives… it will certainly be very welcome.

***
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.
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