Category Archives: environment

NEWS: burglary / help for poor / pollution report … and more

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-February 2018
In this post we have news of…: restaurant burglary / local firm helps poorest / pollution report / summer fayre progress / un-open Forsbrook…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a pop-jazz band evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Chandni burglary

There have still been no arrests (at the time of writing) concerning the Chandni Cottage Restaurant burglary which took place two weeks ago (Feb 5th). A well-organised group of thieves broke into the restaurant, at the eastern end of Draycott, in the dead of night.
They smashed in a window at the back; and stole equipment, goods and some cash – causing around £10,000 worth of losses. They even took the charity tin.Chandni Cottage

The thieves managed to get away with some hefty pieces of kitchenware, which makes police think that they must have had a van, and been properly prepared, being as it was such a difficult operation.
The same gang may have even been behind some similar incidents across the area.

The thieves were pretty brazen, but let’s hope they made some mistake which will lead eventually to arrests. If you think you may know anything, there is a confidential police hotline – call 101 and mention “incident number 587”.
It’s been really distressing for the owner, Yasmeen Yacqub, but we are happy to say that she has since said she won’t be cowed, and will carry on whatever!

– – –
New Haden generosity

If the reports from the Cheadle Food Bank are anything to go by, the situation for the poorest in our community is getting worse and worse. Requests to them for emergency supplies have risen 30% on the same time last year.
The food bank hands out tinned and non-perishable goods to those who turn up to its drop-in sessions. The Cheadle group serves not just people from the town but the surrounding villages, such as Draycott.

However, the food bank organisers rely on people like us to keep a supply of goods going, so, because of the rise in need, they have launched an extra appeal for funds, this time specifically aimed at businesses.
We are pleased to say that the first firm to respond positively is one from our small district – New Haden Pumps in Draycott Cross Road, which has stepped in to donate £150. Well done to them.

– – –
The fun of the fayre

It’s already that time of year again, and the Draycott Fayre organisers have already started booking acts for the event, which returns in July.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

Parish councillor Pauline Clarke shows the 25 Years of Draycott Fayre banner last year

But now comes the nitty-gritty bit – who is doing what? …from hawking round posters to taking money on the gate.
The first meeting to discuss such matters takes place on March 2nd. Can you get along, and offer your services or thoughts?
Everyone who works putting the day together is a volunteer, from top to bottom – so, no matter how small, your contribution will be valuable. All are welcome at the meeting.
For details, click here

– – –
‘Missing’ notification

You might think our own local council here in Draycott is pretty bad when it comes to sharing information with its taxpayers (and it is) but the next-door council in Forsbrook takes the prize this month.
As must happen after the death of a councillor, which happened at the beginning of this year, a vacancy must be announced so that members of the public can put themselves forward for the post.
(In fact, some people in Draycott would have been eligible, as the locality rule means that residents for a few miles round are also able to stand).

So we watched the Forsbrook Council’s website, and we watched the council’s Facebook page. And we waited and waited. Nothing.
However, it then turned out that there was a notice after all – a piece of paper pinned to the council notice boards… but by then it was too late for us.

Forsbrook broke no rules in doing this, but, judging by this, they aren’t great fans of openness in local government, apparently preferring to keep such information under the radar, instead of trying to get the information out far and wide to as many people as possible.
So… who now gets to decide who will be the new, incoming councillor? Well…the councillors, of course!   They will now look for someone they themselves approve of, and ‘co-opt’ them.

– – –
Pollution report

As required by law, the developers who are soon to be building a housing estate and factories in Cresswell had to commission a report examining the state of the land on which they are about to build.
(The report, which must be carried out by a reputable land-analysis firm, looks for contaminants, floods risk etc.)
Well, the report has just been published. It is very lengthy and you probably need a degree to understand it fully, but it is important.

The local community-action group, VVSM, have been through the report and done their own review, breaking it down into simpler language. The review (click here to check it out), which also has links to the details of the report, is worth five minutes of any local resident’s reading time.

The biggest result is that the report’s authors admit finding contaminants in the soil, though they personally do not think there is enough there to halt the building. What they do recommend however is that a thick layer of fresh top-soil should be placed on the fields to act as a ‘buffer’ between the incoming residents and any nasty stuff down below.
The report’s authors admit too that there are simply locations across the site where they don’t know what will be found – until the digging starts. In fact, they recommend that construction workers, who will be moving in soon, wear protective clothing.

It’s all a bit worrying. The VVSM folk point out that, when cadmium in the earth is disturbed, it often just floats into the air; and, yes, cadmium is believed to be buried there somewhere.
In the end, the people of Cresswell (and the incoming residents of the planned estates) must rely on two things – the honesty of the construction firm which is honour-bound to report any unexpected finds, and the diligence of the local authority’s environment officers, who are supposed to monitor the excavations.  Erm, fingers crossed, eh?

***
This post has been edited since being originally published.

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

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

Advertisements

NEWS: Xmas fest / Blithe project / darts! / community cash

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-November 2017
In this post we have news of…: Christmas tree festival / River Blithe clean-up / 50 up for Phyllis / darts at the Arms / community fund pay-out…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of Xmas events!!. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Get in the Christmas (tree) spirit

The people of Draycott come together as a community too little sadly, but one time they definitely do bond is for the annual village Christmas Tree Festival.
This is a great project – as it allows anyone from the district & surroundings to decorate a small Christmas tree and enter it into a display.

A lot of people who enter into the spirit of the project have a theme in their decoration, whether it’s to highlight the good work of a local organisation, or to spread general thoughts of goodwill. It’s not a religious thing necessarily – you choose the look and the ‘message’ for yourself.

Draycott Christmas Fest 2014 6

The trees are along the two side aisles of the church making them easy to see

There’s no big hassle to it either. Your family could decorate a small tree (real or artificial, but it must be under 4 feet high) any time over the next day or two – and then simply deliver it to St Margaret’s Church during Saturday (2nd December) – the day the organisers are accepting the trees.
The exhibition of trees then stays up in the church (during which time the building is open to the public during the afternoon) from Sunday 3rd until Sunday 10th.

It’s all free too: no fee to enter a tree, and no fee to get into the church to see the exhibition. If you need more details email Pauline Clarke, but, really, it’s as easy as that.
To see the full details of ‘rules’, click here.
Go on. You know you want to!

– – –
Money in time for Christmas

It’s taken quite a while, but at last money from the ‘Newton Solar Array Community Fund’ is being distributed. This is the money set aside by the company that runs the solar farm near Totmonslow, as a sort of gift to our community for any disruption caused, and comes to about £2000 per year.
The company has entrusted Draycott Council with the cash, to hand out as the councillors see fit.

Well, the first round of applications has now been completed, and the winners are:
Draycott Church & Community Hall, which receives £500 toward the cost of new fireproof curtains
Lee Warburton, a local resident, who has asked for £285 toward the cost of installing new floral planters in the village
The Draycott Speed Watch Group, which will get £350 to purchase a radar-gun when it formally starts up
Councillor Steve Jones, who asked for £300 to be used to fund a project in Draycott for children
Another request for £1000 as part-payment against Mary Edwards’ project to re-surface part of Church Lane (see our story about this) was put on hold while more information was sought
Some other requests were either withdrawn or postponed until the next round of applications.

Steve’s project is probably the most intriguing one. He has set up a youth group called ‘Gaming Potion’, which aims to get kids off smartphones & gaming consoles and into ‘real’ hands-on games.  The idea is to arrange occasional day-long events over the next year or so, to be held at Draycott Church Hall – one is already arranged for late December (see our Events page) .  He’s also looking for volunteers who like tabletop gaming to help out.

It’s great to see the community-fund being taken up like this. If you feel that you have a project which would benefit, just click here and fill out the form.
The next lot of applications will be considered in the new year.

– – –
A different kind of streaming

Officials from the South Staffordshire Water Company may have been reading this website when they came up with their latest idea.
We wrote a story last month mentioning that the River Blithe (which runs right down from Draycott & Cresswell to Tittesworth Reservoir and then to Rugeley), was not in great condition.

Cresswell Bridge silt

River Blithe passes under Cresswell Bridge

Well SSW are now offering grants up to £10,000 to farmers who have land around the course of this river – if they take part in a land improvement scheme.
It sounds really worthwhile.

For more info, phone Nina at SSW on 01922 638282; and if you are a farmer who decides to take part, will you let us know how it goes?

– – –
Arrows at the Arms

The refurbishment at the Draycott Arms pub has been moving along nicely – so much so that a darts team is now making regular use of the snug.

The Draycott Arms team is doing rather well too, holding a mid-table position in the Ipstones Darts League – though organiser Andy Bird does point out that “we don’t take it TOO seriously; it’s more about fun and getting together really”.

The team, which is made up of both men and women, could do with a couple more members in the squad however.
Are you free on occasional Tuesday evenings? Do you think you could throw an ‘arrow’ straight enough? (Well, straight enough not to damage the surrounding paintwork..?!!).
Just email Zara at the Arms, or just drop in, and you’ll get a friendly welcome – as well as more information.

– – –
Fifty years in the Institute

And finally… congratulations to Phyllis Sales, a lady who, when she commits to something, really does commit!

This month, Phyllis celebrates fifty years as a member of the Draycott Women’s Institute. Being a member has probably kept her as young as she is…
(Wouldn’t it be great if other members collated some of her memories, to add to the village’s treasure trove of recent history?)

The Draycott branch of the Women’s Institute meets monthly to hear talks and organise worthwhile projects.
It’s been expanding recently, so if you’d like to join up with a nice bunch of people, just email them for information.
Only one membership rule though: you do have to be a woman…!

***
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: repairs / illegal planter / lots of industry / river trouble

In this post we have news of…: volunteers do self-help repairs / illegal planter / industrial hubs dumped in Draycott / River Blithe in trouble …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a harvest supper. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Doing it for themselves

Well done to those folk who have recently decided not to wait for whatever authorities to act, but to get out and fix some local street items themselves. According to a correspondent on the local Facebook page, it was all done by “community-minded” residents.

So… one of the parish council notice boards – the one on Draycott Level which was kicked over some time at the beginning of last month – now stands again! Its legs are a little shorter now, but as they are buried up to their top in soil, no one notices.
The torn felting on top of the Cresswell bus-shelter roof has been waiting a little longer for repairs, some six months or more, but it too has had a repair in the past week and now has a lovely new covering tacked on to it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The government is very much saying that local people must now volunteer to get out there and fix things in their communities themselves if they want them done – and it looks like someone is taking that advice to heart.

– – –
Illegal weeds

One little job that, sadly, hasn’t been done by the authorities is the removal of the old planter (on our main junction, of Uttoxeter Rd and Cresswell Lane). A year ago, Draycott Parish Council promised to remove this eyesore, which has broken legs and is full of weeds, but so far they seem unable to locate a man & van to do it.Planter Draycott Junction

It further turns out, as the council’s clerk revealed at the last meeting, that it is probably illegally sited. It seems that you can’t just plonk a planter down in a public space – you need permission, and a licence to say you have permission. (Who knew?)

Maybe the news that it is an illegal will hurry along said removal.

– – –
Pity the poor Blithe

We had an interesting email from Nigel Peake the other week. There are probably very few people who know this village as well as Nigel, and he says that in all his days he has never been so concerned about the river.
He wrote:  “Sit on the bridge and watch the river go by??! A joke!!!! The river is virtually weed bound, hardly any river to see. I’ve mentioned this to a Parish councillor in the past, and as usual, naff all done. I was born and bred in Cresswell, and I’ve honestly NEVER seen the river in such poor condition.”

The River Blithe runs into Draycott from Blythe Bridge, before going on to Tittesworth reservoir and eventually meeting the Trent at King’s Bromley near Rugeley. It’s quite a significant river, and is the real reason that Blythe Colours settled here over a hundred years ago.

Nigel is right of course. It’s partly the invasion of Himalayan balsam – the weed that spreads like wildfire – which is choking the river, and partly the constant need to keep de-silting the water-course, which isn’t happening.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Even the tributary into it, which runs from The Hunter pub through Paynsley fields and meets the main Blithe at the Blythe Business Base, is virtually invisible right now.
Further up, near to Wastegate Farm/The Hunter, the landowner is even now putting in extra drainage pipes, presumably to help it along.

Anyone got any ideas on how to save the Blithe?

– – –
Bringing industry to Draycott

The chance to comment on the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s ‘Local Plan – Preferred Options 2017’ has now passed. The results of the feedback should be known in the New Year, but we already know that many of the comments were deeply unfavourable.

Residents in both Draycott and Cresswell felt a bit frustrated that any comment by them objecting to the Blythe Park expansion, or to the Blythe Vale development, would be ignored – as the approval for both has already been passed, and the Local Plan only looks at future scenarios.

But, surprisingly, there was a mention of the developments in the council’s documents. They figure in the section on the council’s industrial strategy policy: –

•   8.26          Note that: no rural employment allocations are proposed … given that in May 2016 the Council granted outline approval for a major residential and industrial scheme in the countryside at Cresswell (Blythe Park expansion) covering approx 8.58ha of employment land.  This satisfies the District’s residual employment land requirement for 2016-2031.
And –

Note that: the 48.5ha allocation of land at Blythe Vale (Policy DSR1) for mixed uses responds to a special regional requirement for high quality, employment development independent of the general employment land requirements for the District set out in Policy E2.

In other words, ALL the region’s industrial development, for rural areas, for the next 15 years is allocated to … Cresswell & Draycott !

So, expect the fields along the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road to be changing over the next few years – from quiet arable land to widespread warehousing and more.
And none of our political representatives, from local level to Parliament, seem that bothered.

***
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

Cresswell’s ancient ‘water-meadows’

Things seem to have gone a bit quiet on the Cresswell Blythe-Park expansion plans – in which 170 new homes will be built in the village and the current industrial park will also double in size. However we are pretty sure that, behind the scenes, both the developers and the community group which opposes the plans, VVSM, continue to work away.

One thing that has come to light in all this is that the expansion of the industrial site will take place on top of some of Cresswell’s ancient ‘water meadows’, that are probably centuries-old.  The developers’ own researches indicate that these are the major heritage legacy that could be disturbed by the new build.

Water meadows

Water meadows’ are the areas of land that used to be flooded deliberately in the old days: to force early growth of grass in the spring; to improve the quality of the grass sward; and to increase the summer hay crop.
But drowning the land in this way can also kill the grass, so landowners cleverly used sluices and ridges & channels to keep the water moving and oxygenated, so preserving the grass.

In fact, Staffordshire’s water meadows may be some of the earliest in the West Midlands. (Systems around Uttoxeter used stone work for sluices and culverts, which just shows how old they are – perhaps 500 years old).

Cresswell water meadows ditches plus fills

Known old drainage systems of ditches and fills on the Cresswell river meadows . ‘A’ is where the new industrial expansion is planned to go

Cresswell’s old water meadows follow the line of the Blithe River, which makes sense, because these particular fields needed the extra source of water.
Older people in this area will also tell you that the wet fields just north of the railway line, near St Mary’s Church, were famous for their abundant crop of water-cress, thus giving the village its name of Cresswell.

Cresswell water meadows

Blue area shows the area along the River Blithe that was flooded for the old water meadows. It stretches from the Izaak Walton pub (top left) down to Paynsley, going right through the Blythe Park base

Sadly, Cresswell’s wet-fields seem to have suffered the general fate of most other water meadows in the UK. They were probably churned over and flattened around 100-150 years ago to enable modern farming practices to take place.

The amazingly fast disappearance of water meadows in Britain since the 1930s has not been good for wildlife. Old water meadows – with their open undulating grassland interspersed with derelict wet channels – support many threatened species of plant life and mammals, such as the water vole.

Artefacts?

The question is: are there still centuries-old remains – e.g. old drainage systems – beneath the surface?
According to the ‘Staffordshire Historic Environment Record’ the site (labelled 53250) is declared an “area of post-medieval water meadows” – and indeed a series of straight drains is recorded on current mapping of this area (see map).

The HER report goes on to wonder if any associated earthworks remain.  The HER’s guess is that they don’t, because they were likely ploughed over. However, it is only a guess – because no archaeological surveys, on the ground, have actually taken place….

Of course, the developers, as part of the planning permission process, do have to commission an archaeolgical  survey – but, at this stage, it’s not clear how thorough that survey has to be.
It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next few months.

As you can tell (!), we are not experts, so we’d appreciate any input.  If you can contribute to this article, we’d be very grateful!  Please leave a comment in the comments box below, or email us.

==
References
Conserving Historic Water Meadows
Staffordshire’s Historic Environment Record
Staffordshire Historic Environment Record via Heritage Gateway

NEWS: pavements under pressure / new car park / dumping action / election day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early May 2017
In this post we have news of…:  how our pavements are gradually disappearing / police action on illegal fly-tipping / new car park for Draycott Old Road / county council election.…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a special Plants Sale Day. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates & news about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Pavement loss

It’s that time of year again… yes, suddenly, after a winter of stillness, everything in the fields and gardens is growing like mad.
This is great for farmers and gardeners, but actually not so good for our pavements, which are currently suffering their annual ‘vegetation encroachment’, as it’s known. Basically, this is when field edges start to spread and spread, sometimes covering the whole pavement.

It is mostly the rural and less well-used pavements that suffer the most of course.  Mud splashed onto them contains seeds which just start to germinate – and bingo!

A community group member tries to clear a badly overgrown pavement in Cresswell

A community group member tries to clear a badly overgrown pavement in Cresswell

You may wonder – who cares?  Well, the problem is it reduces the width of pavements to such an extent that they are no longer wide enough for pushchairs, buggys and disabled wheelchairs… meaning such items have to be pushed along the road itself, which is clearly dangerous.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In our area, Draycott Parish Council has taken responsibility for keeping public spaces tidy and shipshape and, up until only a month ago, had a grant to enable it to do just that.  It even set aside £400 earlier this year to hire someone to clear mud & vegetation-encroachment off the pavement between the Draycott Arms and Totmonslow (though it’s not clear if that work has been carried out yet).

Certainly, so far, the council has struggled to keep the pavements growth free, as our pictures point out.

– – –
Police take action in Draycott

A couple of months ago, we reported on the news that huge deposits of illegal waste had been dumped on local farmers’ fields here in Draycott.
(It’s amazing to think that, in 2016, there were almost a million incidents of such fly-tipping in our country – criminal gangs dump the truckloads of waste under cover of darkness anywhere where they won’t be seen.)

The big question is: where do the gangs keep this waste while they are waiting for an opportunity to dump it?  It seems they often store it secretively in large barns or warehouses until they have enough to make a truckload run worth their while.

This whole matter came up yet again last week when the police decided enough was enough and launched dawn raids on a number of addresses.  Sad to say, one of them was in Draycott. See – dawn raids by police report

– – –
Parking problems … over

One piece of good news for residents in Draycott Old Road is that the long-awaited car park for Draycott College (see pic) is now finally completed (though much behind schedule) and seems to be working well.
Draycott College car park
Up till recently, the residents in the road were complaining loudly that parking by staff and workers at the college was swamping ‘their’ street.
All should be well now…. hopefully.

– – –
An election before The Election

Finally – don’t forget… before the Big Election on June 8th, we still have the small matter of the county council elections.  Here in Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow we are part of the Cheadle & Checkley ward, and we have the chance this week to vote in one county councillor to represent us.  See the list of candidates.

The local community action group, VVSM, thought it would be a good thing to get the candidates’ views on important local issues, such as planning developments, highways and so on. Not all the candidates responded, but most did – see what the candidates had to say by clicking here.

Voting day is this Thursday (May 4th).

***
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: lane meeting / pottery waste / new PCSO / bad February

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late February 2017
In this post we have news of…:  public meeting about Church Lane / pottery waste for Cresswell / goodbye Adam, welcome new PCSO / a rotten February…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Arts & Crafts Spring Fair. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates & news about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Church Lane meeting

It’s not often our area council calls a public meeting on one particular subject, but that is what happened a couple of weeks ago, when there was a village debate on the future of Church Lane (the unmade road that leads up to St Margaret’s Church).
A good half-dozen of the householders from the lane were there as well as representatives from the church and the church hall and other members of the public – though, unfortunately, the farmer whose vehicles use the lane was not there.

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

There is no doubt that the track is a mess, with large potholes and ruts, and, as it meets the main road, it is even slightly collapsed. However, as it is an ‘unadopted’ road, the Highways Department will not carry out any repairs to it.

The debate centred on two things: is the track somehow a community responsibility, and so therefore should the council (as well as the residents there) contribute to any repairs?; and secondly, what level of repair (and costs) would be reasonable?
As you can imagine, these are not easy questions to answer.

Church-goers argued that the lane up to an ancient church and its community hall was a wider responsibility than just for the properties there, and so it was a legitimate case for use of some local council tax money.
But what percentage should each property, user and council pay? There was much discussion about that too.

Councillor Winfield also provided some quotes for a range of repairs… but there was also debate about that.  At the top end, it was estimated that the cost could run to £17,000. The church representatives pointed out that that was an almost impossible sum to raise, and asked for just urgent repairs – which could come to as little as £4000 – as at least that was achievable.

In the end, the meeting broke up with a decision to approach each of the concerned parties and try to see what compromise can be reached.
Finding a solution to please everyone looks like it could be a long and arduous task. (A full report will appear on Draycott parish council’s website in the next weeks).

– – –
Saggars in Cresswell

Thanks to all those who have told us about the dozens of lorry-loads carrying pottery waste that have been seen on the unmade lane behind Rookery Crescent in Cresswell.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It would seem that broken pottery moulds, including saggars, are being shipped there for burial in land-waste tips on some of the farms along there (see pics).  As far as is understood, this is perfectly legitimate – but some residents are investigating if any rules have to be adhered to.We’ll let you know what transpires.

– – –
Police vacancy

PC Adam CharlesworthWe have been fortunate here in our district to have had a most approachable and likeable PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) in Adam Charlesworth (see pic right). Adam has run some very relaxed public drop-in sessions and also made sure to be present at a number of our community’s events.

However, Adam has taken his leave of us. He always told us that his dream was to be a full police officer (PCSOs are not) and so when he applied for and got a full post, he seized it… and good luck to him.  He deserves it.

For the moment, Jon Staples, the other area PCSO, will take on Adam’s role too, but shortly PCSO Dan Nettleton will be stepping into Adam’s big shoes. If you want to welcome Dan, he can be contacted via email: daniel.nettleton@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk

– – –
Good riddance February

One month we will never want back is February 2017.
Storm Doris came ripping through with 70mph winds, and one than one local garden fence is now in a recycling skip…  the rain that came with (and also followed) it caused flooding on some of our outlying roads … and there was even a flurry of snow!
There was an assault on a woman dog-walker in woodland in Draycott Cross – the culprits have not been discovered yet.
A tree collapsed and fell on Cheadle Road just a few yards from Brookside – fortunately no car was passing at the time.
Graham Walker, a local farmer, woke up facing a £6000 bill after criminals dumped loads of illegal waste on his land in the middle of the night.  The culprits also dumped waste on the water-company site up at Draycott Cross.
And a Draycott woman was arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred (see Sentinel story).
Yes, good riddance to February 2017!

***
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

– – –
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!

– – –
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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over to you, councillors … again.

– – –
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?

– – –
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…

***
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).

Cresswell’s future: S106 secrets are out

Eighteen months after the original planning application for the new Cresswell housing estate & industrial park extension was approved, the so-called ‘Section 106’ agreement for it has now been has now also been signed off.

This ‘S106’ is the formal agreement between the district council (Staffs Moorlands DC) and the developer (Scentarea/Malcolm Barrett) about all the nitty-gritty things that must be done before the development can go ahead – stuff like provision for proper transport links, playgrounds etc.
The negotiations are carried out behind closed-doors, in secret, so no-one from the local community has been allowed to get involved.

We asked around to see what some members of our local community thought were the most important points… With their help, we wrote this little guide up for everyone.  We hope it’s helpful.

Fifty pages long

The document is fifty pages long, including a list of forty ‘conditions’.  If you want to read it through it yourself, click here and then scroll to the bottom of that page, where you will find the S106 Document (split into five parts).

The first lot of it is the usual definitions stuff, saying what exactly is what and who exactly is who. Then it gets interesting…

S106 Part One
*  Housing.   It looks like the developer has to promise to build at least 33 out of every 100 homes as ‘affordable housing’.  Of those 33-out-of-100 homes, 21 must be ‘affordable rented’ homes, and 12 be shared-ownership or similar.
That seems to mean that the other 65 of every 100 homes built by the developer (or their appointed housing company) can be at any price he likes to sell them at. He can even build luxury homes if he wants.
So… if 160 homes are built (as planned), there will be (roughly) only just 35 homes for rent. Not as much opportunity for our young families as we’d hoped.
*  Leisure.   The agreement indicates that Blythe Cricket Club, which is just up the hill from the planned housing estate, will stand to gain around £250,000 if the whole estate is built. This is the sum that the developers state they will pay the club if the club allows use of their playing fields to the local & incoming population.
*  Cars.   The agreement speculates that parking space for three vehicles might be needed for any house that has four bedrooms.  A lot of cars!…
What it doesn’t say is how many four-bedroom houses there will be…
*  Children.   A ‘multi use’ games area – for use by children under 12 – is promised.
*  Schools.   The developer has promised to pay over a million pounds to support the need for extra school places – half to go to William Amory Primary in Blythe Bridge, and half to Blythe Bridge High.

S106 Part Two
*  Transport.   The developer promises to pay just under £300,000 to helping create a good local bus service (in 3 instalments)

S106 Part Four
*  Traffic.     A ‘Travel Plan Coordinator’ is going to be appointed.  This person will try to encourage sensible travel, including less car-use.    Apparently, this TPC will form a local community-based group, which will try to monitor traffic & travel flows, and will try to report back to the TPC.
*  Education.  The county council will get behind the construction of forty new teaching spaces at Blythe Bridge High…   Seems a lot – can they really do it?
*  Infrastructure.   A new pavement will be built opposite the Izaak Walton pub.  (The local community-action group VVSM group expressed great surprise at this clause – where exactly is it being built, and how wide will it be?)

S106 Part Five
*  Traffic.   There will be two new major roundabouts on our lanes.
*  Development.   Site clearance can start at any time
*  But, before any house-building can start:
…. a ‘traffic management plan’ must be presented
…. a survey must be carried out on site to check for any old industrial-products contamination; and a plan must be put in place for any pollution leakages from historic contamination
… an archaeological survey must be carried out (Condition 31)
… a plan to look after the area’s wildlife must be drawn up (Condition 33)

Bedtime reading

There is lots lots more to the S106 that you might spot if you read the whole thing – but these items we’ve mentioned here are the highlights that people have alerted us to.
If you spot anything that has been overlooked in our brief guide, would you email us and let us know?  We’d be grateful!

Draycott St Margaret’s 2016 Summer Fayre

Time to get your diaries out – because the liveliest day of our summer is almost upon us…  Yes, the vibe around the Draycott Summer Fayre (which is now confirmed for Sunday July 10th), is already buzzing!

Welcome return

The big news is surely the return of Y-Ddraig .  This fantastic group re-enacts the Viking era, with authentic costumes and encampments. They were massive hits at the 2013 and 2014 fayres, and it was only other commitments that prevented them coming back last year.

Viking conflict

The ‘Vikings’ enjoyed themselves with a number of battles

The lads and ladies of the group also demonstrate, and teach, bloodcurdling Viking fighting skills – though they have had their come-uppance in previous years when they challenged the village’s children to battle… (!)

As befits the 25th year of the fayre, the rest of the line-up is incredibly strong too.
The organisers have pulled off a real coup to get the Staffordshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, twenty youngsters who really know how to play. They will be in the marquee.
The Joliba African Drums are coming along too, and they do more than just perform. What they do is encourage children to join in by having some quick tuition – and the afternoon finishes off with a performance by and with the children.  That will be definitely worth staying for.

With the Dog Show, the Children’s Sports and Tug-of-War tournament also there, it is going to be a busy afternoon in the main ring.  (If you think our dog has the makings of a champion, be sure to get to the fayre by 11am to register – the dog show is planned for 11.30).

Enjoying an ice-cream at Draycott Summer Fayre!

Enjoying an ice-cream at Draycott Fayre …

For younger children, instead of the usual Punch & Judy, there is the Coverdale Puppets experience (from Merseyside).  Check out their performances on YouTube, and you’ll agree that fun is the name of their game…

Relax, relax… as well

But the day is not just about ceaseless activity!
Thank goodness for the ‘Saint Margaret’s Bar’ and its cooling beers and ciders (and other drinks). A big thank-you to The Draycott Arms which will be running it this year.  Zara Hutson, from the Arms, has promised a proper ‘beer festival’, so if you enjoy a pint, it really will suit you.
The staff of Draycott Moor College has once again showed terrific willingness to join in community activities – they will be running the barbecue.  And don’t forget the wonderful Tea Shop run by Christine Wibberley & friends.

And you don’t even have to walk to the fayre! If you live in Tean, Cresswell, Blythe Bridge or Draycott, then jump on the special Fayre bus.  POPS, the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society, will be running a vintage bus around the villages all day.

A proud owner of a vintage machine at Dracott Fayre

A proud owner of a vintage machine, at the 2015 fayre

And – all the familiar sights will be on show too…    The vintage car and machinery rally, the funfair, the stalls selling everything from ice-cream to plants, the local community groups’ charity stands, the ‘country-crafts experience’ and even the popular family games will all be in evidence.
(If you or your local group wants a stand at the fayre, it is not too late to apply.  Just email the Fayre Organiser, and he will help you sort something out – £10 a table.)

Party, party on Saturday

For those that love to dance or just appreciate some live music, well, you will get your chance on the previous evening, ie the Saturday evening (9th July), when the marquee will be put to good use, hosting a band and disco.
The wonderful Jacque Rabbit band (featuring local lad Richard Ward) will be headlining the night; and Peter Wright, who is so well-known to all of us, will be running the disco.  Support band are Styx & Stone, who hail from Hilderstone just thre miles away.
It really is a fun summer’s night entertainment – so try to get your tickets early for that event – just email the Fayre Organiser£4 in advance, £5 on the night.

Volunteers

Please remember that this is a local event, run voluntarily by local people for a local charitable cause (the ongoing, and expensive, maintenance of our 13th century village church, St Margaret’s).
So, thinking of that – do you think you can help, by volunteering?
On the Sunday (and even the Saturday evening) there is always a need.  People are required for all sorts of tasks – from the basic, like stewarding on the car-park, right through to ‘shepherding’ the main acts.
If you can spare even a little time, or have some expertise, please email the Fayre Organiser John Clarke.  He will be very happy to hear from you!

The fayre is held, as usual, right in the centre of the village, on Uttoxeter Road (ST11 9AE) – with gates open at 11am.    The day closes around 5.30pm with a church service in the marquee.
Entry is £5 but children of school-age come in free.
On-site car-parking is free.

Updates

This page was last updated on July 8th.

For those who wanted to see the North Staffordshire Pony Club, a bit of unfortunate latest-news: the club have had to pull out of their fascinating ‘Musical Ride’ routine – twelve ponies and their riders that weave patterns to music.  Maybe next year…

Fayre volunteers will also want to keep an eye on the special Fayre Facebook page.

It looks like it’s going to be a good ‘un this year!

NEWS: broader-band! / community money / Izaak jobs / garden days / fly-tipping

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2016
News of…:  superfast broadband in Cresswell / £2000 community grant / catering jobs / show off your garden / fly-tipping…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a ‘Black & White Ball’… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Money for the community

As you drive on the A50 towards the Blythe Bridge roundabout from the Uttoxeter end, you’ll see what looks like fields of snow to your left. In fact, it’s the Lower Newton Farm ‘solar array’ with its nearly fifty thousand panels.

This solar farm was ‘energised’ as they call it (we would just say ‘started up’!) at the end of March last year, and if it meets its targets it will have supplied enough energy by now to have met the annual electricity demands of 3,400 households.  It’s all a very environmentally friendly site, as residents saw on the Open Day last year; and should have saved the UK 6000 tonnes of Co2 emissions in the last twelve months.
Recently, the builders of the site, Novus Energy, sold it to BlackRock, a major investment concern.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)

A photo of a typical solar farm array. The one at Newton has slightly lower frames

But what will probably be of most interest to most of us is that BlackRock has agreed to pay £2000 per year into a community fund for all Draycott-in-the-Moors area – to be administered by Draycott Parish Council .  And the first payment will be in April.

So – what do you think the money should be spent on? All ideas welcome, though they will have to be approved by the parish council.

– – –
Untidy Cresswell

When we wrote an article about ‘Untidy Draycott’ some months ago, there were mixed reactions.  Some people thought it was outrageous to say the village needed extra tidying effort, some said we weren’t critical enough.
A lot of the input came from you, the readers, who supplied us with photos and sightings.
Sad to say we keep getting more and more such photos, not fewer.

Fly-tipping at Railway Cottages

The latest photo we have received (above), from ‘Tricia T’, is of some fly-tipping near Railway Cottages, which are on a track just off Cresswell Old Lane.  It’s a shame.

Please keep your photos of sightings coming.

– – –
Izaak looking good

One site that has got a heck of a lot tidier in the last few weeks is the area around the Izaak Walton Pub.  Yes, someone has really got stuck in, cutting back overgrown greenery, and clearing away any litter, and doing minor repairs.

Weathervane at Izaak Walton

Weathervane at Izaak Walton. Which way does the wind blow for the pub now?

As you might have guessed, the reason for this is that the Izaak is re-opening shortly, under new management – after a year of being empty.
A sign outside the pub says that the management is recruiting bar and kitchen staff.

If you have been trained in catering, now is a good time for you, as the Draycott Arms is also advertising for staff!

– – –
Broad(er) band at last

Householders in Cresswell tell us that they’ve received a letter from ‘Superfast Staffordshire’ announcing that superfast broadband is now finally available in most of Cresswell.  Draycott Level up to the church has had it for a while. It’s not quite clear to us if Totmonslow has it yet. If you are not sure if you are ‘on the grid’ yet, try using the Broadband Availability Checker.

It’s been a while coming, but we should be grateful to the county council that they have sponsored this project.  If it had been left to the market, it would have been much longer in reaching us.

Cresswell broadband cabinet

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing yet!
Yes, it is now a fibre-optic cable all the way up to the ‘green cabinet’ but it’s still a copper cable from there to individual homes.  And it isn’t an automatic fix; one still has to talk to one’s internet-provider about getting the faster speeds.
But it does mean that people in Cresswell and Draycott can now have a better, more reliable connection if they want one.

– – –
Open gardens

There was an interesting idea last year put about by some of our local community leaders that it would be good to have a ‘gardens competition’ for charity.
That idea didn’t work out, but we all agreed that there are some hard-working and skilful gardeners in our district.

Well, we’ve just had an email from the National Gardens Scheme (the NGS) asking if we’d mention on this website that the scheme is looking for local garden-proud householders to help them out.
The idea is that you open up your garden for a few hours (charging a small admission fee) and that the money goes to both the NGS’s chosen charities and also to your own chosen charities.

If you are interested contact Graham & Judy White, who will come along and advise you the best way to go about it.
Well, why not, when it is all for charity, show off your bloomers? (!)

***
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)