Category Archives: education

NEWS: coronavirus teams / College plans / Facebook group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-March 2020
In this post we have news of…: coronavirus crisis volunteers scheme / Draycott College plans / Facebook proves its worth … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

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Coronavirus – neighbourhood teams?

A big thank you goes out to Kate Bradshaw and Denise Wheat.
In this difficult time, members of the village Facebook group were asking if an official ‘street coordinators’ team for Draycott-in-the-Moors – to ensure the vulnerable and elderly in each street get help – could be established.

Denise WheatUp stepped Kate, a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church and a Draycott village councillor, to respond to the challenge. She then recruited the village council clerk, Denise (see pic right); and now the two of them will work on the idea to see if a viable project can be established.

It’s not clear yet how volunteers will be vetted – but, then, let’s get the volunteers first! If you think you can help the project, in any way, email Denise.

Meanwhile, our local library centre at Blythe may be closed, but it too is contributing.  It has created a ‘phone-buddies’ system, and its volunteers have been re-deployed to run the project. Well done to Helen and her team for thinking so quickly.  For more details, click here.

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Facebook

Facebook gets slagged off a lot, and, yes, there is a lot of nonsense, as well as too many trolls, on there, but a time like this, it really is proving an amazing resource for communities.

If you want to know what’s going on, and the latest updates for our neighbourhood, the Draycott village group page has been terrific. Residents have been swapping really useful facts, and supporting each other.
No less so the neighbouring facebook groups of Checkley & District Community Group, the Tean Community Group, the Fulford Village group, and the Blythe Bridge Group.
It’s worth just checking in with these pages just to keep up to date with how the Covid-19 coronavirus is affecting our locality.

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Draycott College plans

It looks like one of the places that will be affected by the virus is Draycott Moor College, the school for children who have the sorts of issues that mean they cannot go to regular school. It is likely to follow government advice but is unlikely to close because it looks after children of emergency workers.

Before lockdown could kick in though, the head-teacher Gail Norrie did present herself for residents’ questions at a college consultation event last week.
The school intends to expand from around 35 pupils to just over 50 (of all ages); and needs to build on extra accommodation.

One issue that neighbours worried about, which is all the extra traffic there might be, is partly dealt with by the fact that cars will now be able to drive into the college and pick up from round the back, instead of queuing up on Draycott Old Road.
Some residents who are concerned about heritage issues asked if the old frontage, dating back to when it was the village’s primary school, would be affected. No, said Gail, the frontage will be left as it is.

The planning application for the new buildings will probably go to the Staffs Moorlands Planning Department by the end of this month.

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Nature

Meanwhile, despite the problems in the human world, Nature just carries on, doesn’t it? Thank goodness.

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

The blossoms and the spring flowers in Draycott and environs are really looking stunning.

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

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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: cyber crime / swimming / odd tree / council agenda

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2016
News of…:  getting on council agenda / swimming in B Bridge / help defeat cyber crime / the tree with a hole……
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including the Draycott Christmas Gift Fair. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, please keep checking the village Facebook page

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Small steps to more democracy

Our local Draycott area council is trying to get more democratic…
Up until now, it has been quite a tedious process to get something on to the council’s agenda. First you had to apply, explain yourself, get approval etc etc – and by that time, it could be two months later before your point was discussed.

Now, however, there has been a new development.
If you want something discussed at the next council meeting, all you have to do is email draycottparishcouncil@aol.co.uk more than ten days before the meeting, and it will then be automatically included on the agenda in the ‘Correspondence’ section.
So, if you have something you’d like discussed at the next council meeting (on Monday 17 October), you have until 7th October to get your email in.

Let’s hope this works. Area parish councils have been criticised for being too slow and quite irrelevant, but this is a great initiative – and well done to the parish clerk, whose idea it was.  It is an opportunity to speed bureaucracy up, and make the council more responsive!

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Teach your little ones to swim

One of the best-kept secrets in our area is the community side of the swimming pool at Blythe Bridge School.

A boy in a children's swimming pool.Obviously, the pool is mostly for school uses, but at certain times of the week, it is open for community sessions; all you have to is apply to the school’s Swim School.

If you have a very young child, you’ll particularly like the idea of the Ducklings Class, which takes place every Friday afternoon. (Click here for details)

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A tree with a hole

People passing along Sandon Road in Cresswell might have been slightly stunned to see this tree – with a hole right in its middle.  A, umm, doughnut tree.
What’s going on?

Hole-in-tree, Cresswell
Well, no, it’s not down to some sort of strange tree disease.  It comes down to the simple fact that the tree had grown so tall that overhead wires were getting entangled in its branches; and Western Power, the engineers for the electricity industry, decided to step in to sort it out.

You and I might just have carefully chopped the tree away, but WP is more environmentally conscious than that – and cut around the wires!  It makes for an interesting sight.
It’ll be even more interesting to see how the tree grows in future.

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Protect yourself from internet thieves

Nowadays, you don’t need a thief to break into your home; they can do it safely from their bedrooms by intercepting our internet activity.
Staffordshire police are completely aware of this and need your help to get a more accurate picture of the impact of so-called ‘cyber crime’ across the county.

All you need to do is complete a short survey on the Staffordshire Police website. Click on this link to access the survey, which should only take 3 minutes to complete.

It sounds strange to say it, but it is true: we rely on computers so much nowadays that an attack on our ‘cyber-existence’ can ruin our lives.  So it’s worth trying to help.

If you also like face-to-face discussions though, don’t despair. You can quiz Matthew Ellis (the Staffordshire Police Commissioner) in person if you like.
He comes into our neck of the woods next Wednesday (October 12th) when he visits the village hall in nearby Milwich for an open meeting on rural crime and personal safety. If you go along, let us know your impressions….

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: accident / litter problems / school results / new MP?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid September 2016
News of…:  telegraph pole comes down in accident / Blythe High results / Cresswell litter black-spot / changing our Parliamentary constituency? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including official opening of the new Blythe Bridge Library. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Old Road accident

There was another bump on the Uttoxeter Road / Draycott Old Road junction the other day. A car banged into a telegraph pole there on Saturday (10th), hard enough to make the pole snap off completely, bringing down all its wires too (see pic).
Draycott collapsed postFortunately, nobody seems to have been seriously hurt, but the police are still looking for witnesses if you saw anything.

Congratulations by the way to those local residents who heard the thump and rushed out to help. They cordoned off the area too so that no more accidents might happen – very public-spirited of them!

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Untidy – again

It must be nearly a year ago that we first reported how untidy stretches of Draycott/Cresswell were, and how shabby some of the structures in public ownership are (and we are not even talking about the potholes!!).
There were howls of protest then from people saying that we were ‘talking down’ the area, but sadly, things have got no better.

We did another walk along Cresswell Lane, from the the A50 underpass to the Izaak Walton and just in that short stretch counted SEVENTY pieces of litter.
Most are what you’d expect – fast food containers and plastic bottles – so we’d guess much of the litter is chucked out of car windows as these motorists drive past the sports centre and then along to the railway line.
It’s a mystery to us why they would wait until that particular stretch before thinking of throwing their litter out of their car… unless… it’s local people ‘cleaning’ their car before getting home.  If it’s local people, then that is a shame on them.

Of course, the local Draycott community/parish council does employ a litter-picker to gather all this stuff up, and the last time this was all brought up, the council did promise to check why the litter accumulates at such a rate in certain stretches.  It will be interesting to get their answer.

Draycott bus-shelter-roof

The tiles here on the Draycott central shelter have been waiting for repair for a year

Meanwhile, some things that the community-parish council is itself directly responsible for do need sorting too.  The state of the bus-shelters that belong to them is one (see pic above), but two of the planters on Uttoxeter Road really need just to be thrown away, as they are in a state of collapse, and just look really really bad.

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Over to you, councillors … again.

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New MP for us?

The powers that be are having a go at sorting out Parliamentary constituency boundaries.
Every so often this has to be done because of population shifts etc etc, but this time it is also because the Government wants to reduce the overall number of constituencies anyway to make them more ‘manageable’.

As older people will remember, Draycott is one of the places that keeps being shifted about. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were shifted into the Stone constituency, which, as you may know, is held by Bill Cash MP; and is a safe Tory seat.

The new idea is to re-shift us, this time into the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency, which is currently held by the Conservative Karen Bradley, but which is a little bit more of a marginal seat.  The new border would almost run right through Cresswell (see map).

proposed-new-constituencies
This is only a suggestion at the moment – but, what do you think?

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Exam results

The governors and teachers at Blythe Bridge High School, where many of our teenagers go to school, must be breathing a sigh of relief.
The 2016 Real Schools Guide only gave Blythe Bridge a 46% rating and was concerned about attendance levels at the school – but did at least compliment the recent higher levels in attainment and teaching.

But… it looks like this summer’s exam results were pretty good though, which bears out the last Ofsted Report, in July, that gave the school a rating of ‘Good’.
On an upward track, it seems…

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: 4th local pub / new library name / underpants bet / £1000 threat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2016
News of…:  new bar & grill coming to Draycott / think of a new name for Blythe Library / Staffs Moorlands threaten householders with fine / will cricket man have to do a Gary Lineker? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a barn dance. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Golden…ale

Anyone who likes a drop of locally-brewed real ale will be pleased at the news that this district can now expect a FOURTH pub (we already have the Draycott Arms, The Izaak Walton and The Hunter).

Yes, the new version of what was formerly The Plough / The Mango Tree / The Sultan (at the Blythe end of our Uttoxeter Road) is going to be a bar & grill type place, serving Indian and English style ‘sizzler’ dishes – with a more ‘proper’ drinking area than was there before.

Golden Keg sign

Golden Keg is almost ready to open, but not quite!

Calling itself The Golden Keg’ it opens in two weeks (on September 14th) and is promising a good range of ales – including local Titanic ales. The management has already got its Facebook page up and running.
Watch this space!

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Name that library!

The latest update from our local library at Blythe Bridge is that things are all going plan. Although management of the library officially passed from the county council to community volunteers earlier this year, the new-look library never really got a proper official opening.
Well, that oversight will be put right next month, on Saturday 8 October when there will be a little part of celebration, open to all.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

As part of that celebration, the library will be getting its new name – and you can help choose what it will be, as all suggestions are welcome.
It could just be something straightforward, like ‘Blythe Community Hub’ or something like … mmm… ‘The Blythe Fun Shop’! (Well it’s only a suggestion).
Email your suggestion to blythebridge.library@staffordshire.gov.uk as soon as you can.

Also – check out our What’s On pages for news of new adult-education language classes coming to the library.

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Identify yourself – or be fined £1000

Yet another piece of paper-work for us is the ‘Household Enquiry Form‘, which should have come tumbling through your letterbox in the last fortnight.
It looks like just another voter registration form, but it’s not.  This form (from Staffordshire Moorlands Council) is one asking us to confirm those very same registration details we already have filled in.

Why they really need another piece of paper from us is a bit of mystery, but I was told that it’s a method of preventing voter fraud, which unfortunately is a growing crime.
Anyway, the council seems determined to get us to fill in the form – as anyone who doesn’t faces a £1000 fine…  Click here for details

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Doing a Gary Lineker?

The first team at Blythe Cricket Club (whose ground is in Cresswell) might look as though they’ve had yet another unremarkable season, as they are lying almost mid-table in the NSSCL Division 1 yet again with only a couple of weeks of the season to run.

However, the statistics are lying in this instance, as the team have had a couple of stunning victories and have been playing really well.  One of the stars of the season has been fourteen year-old Jack Hammond, who came into the first team almost by accident when the regular wicket-keeper got injured at the beginning of the season– but he has played so well, he has kept his place!

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Head of Cricket at the club, Mark Hammond (yes … he is a relation!) says the real stumbling-block this year has been the weather.  Sometimes the rain has descended – cruelly – just ten minutes before stumps-time, robbing the team of valuable points.

In fact, Mark is so convinced that the first team are so brilliant that he has laid a really …well, spectacular… bet on next season.
Mark bet (in front of witnesses!) that if the first team do not win their division next year, he will do a Gary Lineker and serve behind the bar at a club event … in just his underpants…

Well, the club has always said it wanted to attract more ladies.  Maybe this is the answer.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: college ruckus / fayre float / St Mary’s House / council breaks rules

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2016
News of…:  more problems at Draycott College / float on tour for fayre / how our council is ignoring us / new tenants at St Mary’s House…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a big car-boot sale… Check out the Events page)

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College ruckus

Well, it’s often said you should never make promises you can’t be sure of keeping. However, many of us heard Jay Hart from Horizon Care, the organisation which runs Draycott Moor College, say that he would have the problems of the college sorted within, not months, but weeks.
Oops. That was a mistake.

It’s no laughing matter for the residents of Draycott Old Road though.  Sad to say, some of the children from the college have been out on the street again this month causing dismay and upset. Police cars had to attend this time (again), yet, despite that, one fire engine was still prevented from getting through. One poor motorist who got stuck, stationery, behind the fire engine, suffered all sorts of abuse.

The teenage children at the college have had rough lives and are, in some cases, quite disturbed, so we all realise how tough looking after them is.  But, surely there has to be an answer.
Over to you, Mr Hart. Again.

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New times for old house

It’s all change at St Mary’s House in Cresswell Old Road.
The old house – which dates back to the 18th century – has Grade 2 listed status given by Historic England,  thus making it the pride and joy of of St Mary’s Catholic parish (which covers Cresswell and Draycott).
The house (below) abuts the church though one can see the difference in age between the two buildings by looking at the stonework.

St Marys House, Cresswell

However, Father David Hartley and his family, who were living in it, did not get much time to enjoy the old house’s historic status, as Father David has now been appointed to a new parish (down south), and has now departed the Cresswell shores.

Taking advantage of the change, the Catholic authorities have rented it out to a new family, who (we know this for a fact!) will take very good care of it.
And, whenever he’s appointed, the new Catholic priest for the church will live in a house in Meir – Meir being the centre of the extended parish of Meir, Caverswall & Cresswell.

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Float on!

The news from the Draycott Summer Fayre organisers is looking good… pretty much all the attractions that they had hoped to get are now booked, and it’s looking like a massive Fun day!

Local residents will be particularly interested in a new attraction this year: a ‘float’, which will tour on a lorry round the local area. The theme will be a celebration of the 25 years that the fayre has been running – and why not? Twenty-five years is a brilliant achievement.
The Draycott Brownies and the Draycott Craft Club are putting their collective heads together to make sure it is as colourful as it can be.

Don’t forget to put the date in your diary: Sunday July 10th.   Volunteers to help are still needed: both before the event and on the day.  Contact John if you think you have a little spare time.

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Our arrogant council

Why does Draycott in the Moors Parish Council continue to flout the rules imposed on it by government?

For over a year now, our councillors (including one who is also a member of the Staffordshire County Council cabinet!!) have simply not done what they are supposed to do under the new government Transparency Code.
By this code, our councillors must openly publish the minutes of their proceedings within 30 days – because our councillors are elected by us, so we should be informed what they are up to.
However, currently, the council still has outstanding non-publication right back to last September!
It must also publish an ‘annual set of data’.

Draycott Parish councillors

Some Draycott Parish councillors (except Colin Pearce, in tie, who is a district councillor, and Kate, in blue jumper, who is the clerk)

For many months now, residents have been requesting that the councillors simply observe this law…  but they have been brushed aside – with the comment that the council clerk is already too overworked.  (The council clerk is paid to do twenty hours administration for the parish council per month *….).
(many apologies to readers: the first draft of this article said “20 hours per week” – a mstake which wasn’t spotted in the proofing… sorry)

Well, in that case, sensible people like you and me might say the over-stressed clerk could do with some help.
However, the councillors have been saying the opposite; and that offers of help – even voluntary – must be refused, even when the help is being offered by an actual councillor.  The reason?  Apparently, only the clerk is competent enough to do stuff like put notices up, update a website, make phone-calls, or carry out basic research… (?!!)

Meanwhile, our parish council continues in breach of the rules, and seems (apparently) arrogantly unbothered by it.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Our library – now ‘managed by the community’

This week sees the beginning of a whole new regime at Blythe Bridge Library, (the local library to us in Draycott).

As soon as you walk in the building you’ll notice the changes – and that is because, for the first time for over fifty years, the county council is no longer in control.
Blythe Bridge Library is now being run by a neighbourhood-based community organisation, the ‘Care & Fun’ charity.

Community-managed

Twelve months ago, Staffordshire County Council announced proposals to shrink its library service. It told us that only the main town libraries (like Cheadle) would be fully supported.  Smaller ones (like Blythe Bridge) would need to look to community support.
Not everyone was happy about this decision; it does look suspiciously like more cuts.

However, the move seems to have worked out for us in this district, because Care & Fun – which already maintains the pre-school nursery at William Amory Primary – stepped up, and said they’d take on the library’s management.
Care & Fun is basically a local charitable organisation – with trustees etc – which backs certain local projects.  None of the trustees – not even the chairperson, Helen Bickerton – gets paid, though any professionals working for the projects (like the nursery workers) do.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Why did the trustees at Care & Fun think that this ‘community-managed library’ would be a good project to back?  “Because it is the open centre of this district”, says Helen. “Everybody needs to come here, sooner or later!”

Volunteers

The way the new Blythe Bridge Library ‘Centre’ will work is totally local in form, i.e. totally using volunteers from the surrounding area.  Sixteen volunteers will be needed, plus two volunteer caretakers.
It’s expected that there will be a turn-over of staff too, so training is going on for new volunteers all the time.
A professional librarian, Michelle Forrester, who is based at Leek, will be on hand to respond though, if there are major issues.

What sorts of volunteers are needed?  Specialist ones?  No, not at all.  Actually, the roles won’t be that difficult – though computer awareness would be a bonus.
“It’s no harder than working in a shop” one volunteer told us.

All the ‘complicated’ stuff will still be done by the county council:  books will still be brought in, managed and paid for by the county council, and the building and its computers still belong to the council, though Care & Fun do pay a ‘peppercorn rent’.

New ideas for use

Because all the boring stuff is taken care of by the council, it means the new centre can start to think about new initiatives.   And because Care & Fun doesn’t have restrictions on it like the county council did, it can invite sponsorship for special events or for special mini-projects.  It has also more freedom on whom it can encourage to use the library – for example, small theatre events could be put on.

Certainly the charity is wanting to hear from local people and organisations who could use the spaces in the centre – whether for meetings or art-displays … or, well, whatever!
Already the ‘Toy Library’, which used to be in Forsbrook, is relocating to the centre.

In fact Care & Fun have to be congratulated on the fact that Blythe Bridge is the only library in the Moorlands so far to negotiate successfully for some adult-education classes.  Leek College Outreach is putting on two classes at the library, both starting this week.

Future

However, as everything has happened very quickly, there are still some fiddly things to sort out.
What is a ‘fair’ hire-charge for rooms, for example? Will the new centre, which has to stay solvent, be able to be as generous as the county council were?
What about the labour-intensive tasks, like taking books to housebound people?
Will free story-telling sessions be able to continue?

The only way for us to influence the answers to these questions is for us all to make a habit of dropping in to the new ‘library-centre’ now and again, and keep checking out what’s going on.
Helen Bickerton is clear: “Please keep using the library-centre… In a very real sense, it is now a project for everyone – almost more than ever.”

If you would like to volunteer, just drop in some time and have a chat (for opening times, click here), or drop an email to careandfun@live.co.uk.  (It’s the same email address for any other questions).
Even if you had your doubts when the policy of ‘volunteer-libraries’ was first suggested, you may want to drop in and take a look at how things are changing.  In this instance we do have a truly local initiative; and that aspect of the project alone must surely give it the benefit of the doubt!

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For your diary, at Blythe Bridge Library Centre
Every third Monday is ‘Job Club’
The ‘Altered Books’ craft class runs for five Saturdays (10-12) from 16th April – £45
Spanish For Holidays runs for nine Wednesdays (7pm-9pm) from 13th April – £81
For details on these last two adult education classes, see: blc.ac.uk courses
Care & fun

NEWS: college meeting / democracy issue / mobile library – gone / box for charity

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2016
News of…:  Draycott crisis meeting date  / council in breach of transparency / local lad boxes for charity / last few history books / Draycott mobile library axed…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a ‘Curry & Karaoke Night’… Check out the Events page)

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College crisis meeting

As you may know, upsetting scenes at Draycott Moor College led to a heated meeting of the parish council earlier this month.  Residents demanded some action, and we are now told that there will be a big Q&A session about the issue on Monday 18th April at the Church Hall (from 7.30).  At the meeting will be representatives from the college, and, it’s hoped, from the police; local householders are all welcome to attend.
And if you have anything you want to add into the debate, contact the parish council to ensure your voice is heard.

Draycott Parish councillors though have a strange issue of their own.
As you may have noticed, the minutes of its meetings are no longer appearing on its website – and no one from the council is explaining why.
It is now a legal requirement under the Transparency Code to publish council minutes – because … they are democratic decisions taken in the name of the whole community, so we should know what the council are up to.
It was formally agreed that, as there is an issue with the website (explained or not), that the minutes be published on the village notice-boards instead, but (at the time of writing) this request appears to have been ignored.

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Goodbye mobile library

The ‘reorganisation’ of the Staffordshire Library Service has meant cuts all round; and the mobile library service to Draycott had its last visit this week.

Mobile library in Draycott

Mobile library in Draycott

The mobile library van used to stop at St Margaret’s Court, where the folk at the sheltered housing there, could order and pick up books.  Not any more.
No one seemed to object very much to the cut though, so maybe it wasn’t much used (?).  Tean and Fulford, which did protest, will however keep their mobile library services.

Talking of St Margaret’s Court, congratulations to its oldest resident!

Draycott Parish Council's Celebration for Betty Hammond 2013

Draycott Parish’s celebration for Betty Hammond’s 100th (thanks to John Clarke for the photo)

The former parish councillor Betty Hammond, who is also Draycott’s oldest resident by far, turned 103 this month.  We’re told that Betty’s birthday parties are far & away the village’s happiest events!

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Fighting for charity

Fancy jumping in the ring to box, even for charity?  No, nor us! – but that is exactly what one lad from Cresswell, Nathan Swinson, is doing this Saturday (April 2nd).
Nathan is taking part in a so-called ‘White Collar Boxing’ event in Hanley.
‘White Collar Boxing’ is amateur, but it’s not exactly just for fun either, because all the participants have had thorough training in a gym.

Nathan will be donating his profits from the night to the Midlands Air Ambulance, a charity for which he and his family have raised thousands of pounds over the last few years.
If you know the Swinsons, they have a few tickets left for sale for anyone who wants to go along.

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Last chance to buy history

Ten years ago, the well-known local resident, Matthew Pointon, wrote his book ‘A History of The Parish of Draycott-en-le-Moors‘.  A hundred copies were published, and it was thought that – as only local people would want to buy – stocks would never run out.
However – guess what… there are now only a handful of copies left for sale!
Unfortunately, there are no plans to reprint the book, so if you don’t get your copy now, you may never get one.
The book costs £10 – just apply to Kate Bradshaw if you want one.
Profits go to the maintenance of our local historic churches.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

What is to be done about Draycott Moor College?

“Either we get satisfactory answers – or we ask for the college to be shut down!”  That was the statement from one councillor at last night’s heated Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council meeting – and he was not the only one who felt that way.  His viewpoint was backed by a majority of the members.

But what has caused this radical turn in opinion?
Well, the disgraceful scenes at the school earlier this month to be precise.  A fortnight ago, it seems that individuals climbed on to the roof at the school and started tipping tiles down on to the ground below.  Three police cars, and an ambulance, had to be summoned; and Draycott Old Road had to be closed off.
Unbelievably, the same scenes were repeated ten days later.

Council meeting

The question of what to do about Draycott Moor College was a main focus on the parish council’s agenda last night. Members of the public were there to see the debate – and to ask some pointed questions too. One resident of Draycott Old Road was blunt.   He said: “… the parish council do not seem to be listening to us…”

With this kind of pressure to deal with from its own voters, the council has decided to ask representatives from the college (which is run by a private company, Horizon Care), as well as local police officers and someone from the county education authority (which funds the fees of the pupils who attend the college) to come along to a future meeting of the council to explain what they think is the best way forward.

The councillors were equally blunt though: unless, they said, they are happy with what they hear, they will formally apply to have the college closed down.
It is all such a long sad way since the college picked up a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted in 2012.

Crisis brewing

There have been problems for some time.
The college cares for children with extreme behavioural issues, so nobody expects it to be easy – but most residents in Draycott Old Road have their own stories of being intimidated or bad-mouthed by teenagers from the school, and crime statistics websites regularly highlight incidents in the area – so, after what has recently happened, householders have clearly now had enough.

They want some questions answered…
# Why do some pupils at the school seem to be able to leave when they feel like it?
# The college was managing around twenty pupils, mostly teenagers, until recently. Now, it has expanded to thirty-six pupils and now includes a new section for primary-aged children. Why the expansion of numbers here, when discipline was already a problem?
# The college takes students from all over the county, many of whom are brought in by taxi from many miles away.  Why bring all these troubled children together in one concentration?
# The old headteacher Roger Flint seems to have ‘retired’ – since when these new incidents occurred.  A new headteacher, Ms Gail Norrie, seems to have been brought in to sort things out – and, to her credit, she has been open with residents.  But what is her actual plan?
# The local police community support officers say they ‘recognise the problem’. But, also, what is their plan?

Watch this space.

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

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

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Million pound property

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

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

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

– – –
Goodbye Doctor Dave

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

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

– – –
Preventable (?) floods

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

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

Blocked pipe on Uttoxeter Road

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

Silted up drain

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

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

– – –
The people’s meeting

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

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

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Troubled times for the library service

“We live in interesting times”, as the saying goes… meaning we live in troubled times.

Wednesday this week was a big day: the Izaak Walton Pub announced it was closing for a period, and Tean Post Office closed too (though, to everyone’s surprise, it has immediately re-opened!).
Also, on Wednesday, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council finally confirmed the date for its discussion (next week) of the Blythe Park planning application (the one where over 150 new homes could be built in Cresswell) – click here if you want more details of that.

Libraries

So, the fate of our local library service got swamped by all the other news on Wednesday.
But the news about it is not great either.

Blythe Bridge Library is one of the libraries that will be ‘handed over to the community’.  This is a poor phrase, because no-one knows what it really means.
In other places where this is the case, members of the local community are already organised to run their local library – this is what is happening in nearby Werrington.  However, here, the local parish council has expressed no interest in doing that.

What will probably happen is that the current staff will be made redundant, and that VAST, an agency that recruits volunteers, will be tasked with finding local people to come forward and do voluntary work at the library. This will take place over the next six months.  More than likely, the library will be given an advisor by the main Staffordshire County Library Service to oversee the situation.
What the new hours will be, and what services the ‘new’ library can provide are up in the air.

The one blessing is that Cheadle Library stays fully open.

Mobile library

And what about the mobile library that visits Draycott once every six weeks?
Well, as reported in the newspapers a while back, that service is the next under threat.
We now know that, during the next few months, a ‘review’ of the service will be carried out.  We all know what that might lead to…