Category Archives: environment

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

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

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

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

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Flowers for remembrance

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

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

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

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The sun comes out for Lisa

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

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

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

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Jubilee weekend

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

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

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

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Bulbalcious

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

The bulbs will only come back stronger next year…

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

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

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

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Ukraine

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

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

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Those road structure proposals

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

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

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

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

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Solar energy

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

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

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

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

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

Totmonslow Solar Farm logo

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

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Blast from the Works past

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

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

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

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NEWS of: Xmas festival / traffic revision / third solar farm? / rats

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early November 2021
In this post we have news of…: Xmas Tree Festival is back / another solar farm for us? / construction traffic on estate / rats & climate change

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

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Get your trees decorated!

Starting with the good news: after you-know-what, the Draycott Christmas Trees Festival is back!
This is the event when each and every local individual or family or organisation can decorate a small Christmas tree, and have it displayed in St Margaret’s Church. On the weekend of the 11th/12th December, the brightly-lit church will be open to visitors to come in and peruse the creations.

Draycott Xmas Tree Festival 2016 - fairy
A previous Xmas Tree Festival at the church

The whole thing is the brainchild of John Clarke, so (again!) many thanks to him for a really good community pull-together event. Contact John to say you wish to take part, and he’ll make a space for your tree (to be delivered to the church, please, on Dec 10th). More details on our What’s On page.

Incidentally, John’s wife Pauline, who was able to re-start the Draycott Craft Club last month, has organised a special bauble-making session, to complement the tree festival, on Nov 11th at the church hall. Anyone is welcome to the session, and you will be able to take your baubles home with you. (See our What’s On Page for details).

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Third solar farm??

What is it about our district? Back in 2015, a solar farm was constructed at Lower Newton (between Cresswell and Totmonslow) and now there could be two more on the cards. We are certainly popular!
Solar farms are of course a way of producing electricity without using fossil fuels, so they are crucial in this age of climate change.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)
A typical solar farm

We have already reported on last month’s plan to build a solar array at Totmonslow (see that report), but now there are proposals to build a third one, near Blythe House (nearer to Tean). Both sites are within the Draycott Council area. A consultation session will be held later this month about the Blythe House proposal (see What’s On page for details).

Strangely enough, there is also another (fourth!) one which also could be built – the Tean-Leys proposal, close by in Lower Tean.
The common thread is that all proposed sites are by the route of the A50, and the land presumably would not be great for houses. (Perhaps…?)
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Rats like it warm

Talking of climate change, even here in Britain it is already causing issues. We know about the freak weather conditions it can create, which can lead to such havoc – but sometimes we forget about the rats.

The fact is that rats love the milder winters; and even here in Draycott district, pest-control has lately been busy. The trouble is that winters are no longer freezing enough to kill off enough rats, so plenty of them are still around, foraging, even in these ‘colder months’.
Unlike mice, rats don’t like being around humans, but they will come into gardens, and houses, if they need food.

Dead rat found in Cresswell this year. You can see how big it is – the width of the spade’s blade

If you do see an increase in rat activity on your property, please contact the village council. They can’t do anything about the issue directly, but they have a responsibility to monitor local problems.
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Construction traffic re-routed

As we reported previously, residents recently got a significant result in getting the developers on the large Blythe Fields Estate (at the western end of Draycott) to agree to stop using Woodland Lane as a route for their lorries. Residents claimed the use of such a narrow track was dangerous. (See full story)

To their credit, the developers, St Modwen, have been relatively quick to respond. So they are now asking for their planning permissions to be changed – to allow the construction traffic to go along the main avenue through the estate instead. (See new application).
The one downside of this is that the new application is asking for a full five-year period of permission, meaning there will probably be construction traffic on Uttoxeter Road for years to come…

Excerpt from St Modwen’s revised Blythe Fields haul-road application

One aspect of the new application is that you’ll notice that our village council, which is supposed to look after our interests, didn’t put in a formal response – even though it is a statutory consultee. Even the writers of the report seem surprised by that (see pic above).
However, it doesn’t surprise us. Draycott Council has a long and sorry record of not bothering to represent us in planning matters. Sigh.

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Planters project – done!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Pic: Facebook)

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

Future

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

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

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

Just a little addition…

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

Church Lane car park display

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

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

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Council matters

In in this particular post, we had hoped to write about something different than affairs surrounding our village council, but (sadly) they seem to have come to the fore again.
In this post, we’ll look at: the unexplained resignations that recently occurred; the council’s odd reaction to a planning document; and a ban on mentioning council matters on the village Facebook page.

Resignations

For those who don’t know, we had the resignation of nearly half of our councillors suddenly, and apparently simultaneously, from Draycott Council. The three councillors were the younger members of the council, and all three had been newly-elected in 2019.
The suddeness of it is very strange as, at May’s council meeting, these same councillors had been sorting out their roles for the coming year of 2021/2.

Letter writing

The trio’s resignation letters gave very little detail as to why they made their decisions, but there seems no reason to think it was a joint resignation by the trio. One of the resigners had not been attending that many meetings recently anyway; and another has since explained the one of the reasons for her resignation was that the overwhelming stress of the Covid lockdown was just adding to her already difficult caring responsibilities.

There were though strange hints at the council’s June meeting that some sort of poison-pen activity was going on. However, this seems unlikely, as it is a criminal offence to target a public official – councils are urged to report that sort of thing to the police – and no suggestion of that has come out officially. (Although, in fact, there has been poison pen activity at Draycott Council in the recent past, when a chair of the council felt compelled to resign in disgust).
Some folk have also thought a possible trigger for the resignations was an article criticising the council’s lack of action on some matters – but that was published in mid-April, a full three weeks before the resignations.

So, who knows what really happened? Is it possible that the resigners were simply just very tired? Covid has made life very difficult for all of us, and the extra stresses it has brought with it have not made life much fun.

One outcome of the resignations is that residents now have to decide if they want an election to replace the resigners; the deadline for a decision is this Sunday (28th June). To see how all that would work, click here.

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Opportunity missed

One of the few tasks that Draycott Council has an obligation to carry out is to scrutinise planning documents that are put before it. However, at their June meeting, the councillors had a surprising reaction to a document assessing the environmental issues on the new proposed Blythe Fields (Phase Two) housing estate. (This is the second of three large housing estates planned to be built in our neighbourhood).
They claimed the document was unreadable… One councillor said it was “nonsense”, another that it was “gobbledegook”, while the other councillors simply remained silent – and the council simply then refused to deal with it.

This was a puzzle to us! Though it’s in normal ‘officialese’, it didn’t seem that hard to read. (Have a go yourself – click here to see the document).

Blythe Fields (Phase Two) housing estate is the part marked in red

And it’s a shame the councillors didn’t try a bit harder, as there are some details in the document that are very important.
The document reveals for the first time: how many houses will be on the proposed development (up to 230); the estimated traffic movements on the site (over 1000 a day); the concerns about air pollution from the A50 in the new homes; and a previously-unheard assertion that local people will likely get houses on the new estate. The document also reveals that some of the agricultural land that will be lost to the development is of the ‘best’ quality. All this should have been questioned by the council in a formal response – which they ducked out of.
The developers must thank their lucky stars for what an easy ride they are getting!!

As it is, only two responses were lodged in the public consultation, one by a local resident – to see them, click on the EIA (Blythe Fields) Application page, and scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find the two responses.

We have pleaded with the council in the past to invite local residents with expertise in the planning field to act as their ‘advisors’ , especially at times when they feel unable to cope – but our advice has fallen on deaf ears so far.
… which means that the developers can carry on happily, with barely an ounce of scrutiny from our representatives.

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Gagging rule

Finally, one outcome of all this is that the administrator of the village facebook page has placed a ban on discussion of anything to do with the village council.
All sorts of wild talk and accusations were flying about on the page following the resignations, and the Shouters & Bawlers (as Facebook calls them) were indeed getting aggressive – writing in capitals, targeting individuals, and all the other well-known signs. So the administrator’s actions are understandable.

It is a shame though. Our council’s decisions (or lack of) are rightly the focus of how this small district sees itself and how it wants to progress. People often feel relatively helpless, and look to the council for leadership and communication, as well as some response to their worries.
So, It is a great shame that there is now no local forum on which to discuss and debate (in reasonable and evidenced ways, naturally) anything to do with the council.
Oh well.
Modern life, eh?

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

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

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

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High water Draycott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Activity plan for (some of) the railway path

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

The old-railway path follows the middle bottom black line

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

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

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New fines for careless dog owners

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

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

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

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

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Sold out bungalows

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

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

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

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

NEWS: dog of year / Covid rules latest / Rev Sam! / green group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid October 2020
In this post we have news of…: Arms’ top dog / Covid rules – better for some, not all / saving the planet, locally / church man gets upgrade….

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Top dog

Indeea, of The Draycott ArmsFirst things first… anyone who goes into the Draycott Arms will know that the most beautiful sight in there (…sorry Brayn!) is a dog called Indeea (pronounced: india). Indeea is not only beautiful but always calm, dignified and proud; a real asset to the pub.

But owners Zara & Brayn (and us) are not the only people to have recognised this.
Now, the Staffordshire online magazine The Mark has also honoured Indeea (in its current issue) with the title ‘Pub Dog Of The Year
Totally deserved!

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Covid affects events

It’s getting hard to predict what’s on and what’s off right now.
The latest bad news is that the annual Festival & Procession of Lights in next-door Tean has now been definitively cancelled, which is a blow.
Meanwhile, the Cresswell dance-hall, Quick Quick Slow, is still badly affected. The government is still not permitting tea-dances (even when same-household couples are socially-distanced from other couples…) so the venue has now announced that there is no chance of social-dancing returning until the New Year at least, though classes are still happening there.
One feels very sorry, not just for the venue but the people who relied on QQS as a way to get out of the house and have an afternoon of pleasant exercise.

One thing is for sure, and that is that the Draycott Brownies project is not returning. After a successful couple of years, it was faltering due to lack of numbers, but, what with Covid etc, the Threapwood Division Of Girl Guiding, which oversaw the Draycott Brownies troop, has definitely decided it is unsustainable.
Funnily enough, Draycott Brownies were once one of the most popular troops in the area – this with older memories may enjoy clicking here for pictures from its past.

However, there is good news too. Our local library, at Blythe Bridge, is now fully open again, albeit on limited hours; Draycott Sports Centre is holding tournaments again and re-opening classes; and St Margaret’s Church is once more welcoming people back for its Sunday morning service (though you must book in advance via admin@stmargarets.org.uk) as is St Mary’s in Cresswell (though, with only 20 worshippers allowed in the church, it’s a case of ‘first come, first served’).

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library is back

The rules are changing all the time. What will it all look like by Christmas?

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Keep it green

In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, it’s easy to forget that the planet is still under threat, so it’s good to welcome a new, locally-based environmental campaign, called Green Tean (& Draycott).
The driving force behind it is Alana Wheat, well known in the area for her girl-guiding and youth-club involvement.

At the moment it is basically a supporters’ forum working online (on Facebook), but it says that that its hope is to produce more ‘sustainable practices’ in the neighbourhood – especially regarding recycling, sustainable gardening, wildlife and more.
Its Facebook page is open to anyone to join..

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Revving up

Rev Sam CrossleyMore good news from St Margaret’s is that the curate for this benefice, Sam Crossley (pic right), has finally got his upgrade (‘ordination’, if you want the proper term!). He was created a fully-fledged ‘Reverend’ a couple of weeks ago.

Sam is of course a Newcastle United supporter and, curiously, his team has been doing very well in the last couple of years – in fact, ever since he arrived here. Could the two facts be mysteriously connected?!!!

A piece of news that Sam might well be intrigued to hear is that the village council has discovered that the lane leading up to St Margaret’s Church is not called ‘Church Lane’ at all, which is what we had all thought. In fact it has no official name; and the council will be discussing the naming issue soon.
(But let’s not ask Sam for his ideas; we suspect he may come up with ‘Alan Shearer Lane’ or something like that…!)

Does any reader have ideas for a new name for the lane? Add your thoughts in the comments-field further down this page.

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Thanks to The Draycott Arms and St Peter’s Benefice for use of photos on this page

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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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Climate-change concerns

May we draw your attention to a new article which has just been published about the large building plans for Cresswell on the Blythe Park site?
The authors of the article say that the acceleration in climate change over the last five years should make local councillors rethink their 2015 decision to approve the proposals.  (Climate change leads to extreme and unusual weather conditions, including excessive rainfall & flooding).

The decision to allow building on the Cresswell flood-plain was a huge surprise to many experts at the time ; will planners now need to revisit that decision?

Click here to read Climate change, flooding and Cresswell

Field (Sandon Close in background)

Cresswell floods regularly. This field (Sandon Close in background) is the one earmarked for new housing

Climate change speeding up

The article has been written just as the world found out that climate change has now set in solidly. The last decade of 2010-2019 has been the hottest ever recorded.
See: Last decade confirmed as warmest on record

But we continue to blunder on blindly into the massive problems that climate change is presenting.

Draycott going green

One small but important aspect of this year’s (fantastic) Draycott Fayre was … its bins.
The choice of waste disposal may not seem significant at first, but the way that the fayre organisers chose to do it this year was quite different to previous. This year they decided to go green, and so installed recycling bins; and they are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts.

The main coordinator of the fayre, John Clarke had this to say:
“In previous years we have had a skip (generously provided by the local company, Hartley’s) but this year we provided blue bins marked with the type of waste that can be recycled such as glass, metal tins, cardboard and plastics.

Recycling bins at Draycott Fayre 2019As it was a new effort this year I wasn’t sure what reaction we would get from our Fayre visitors, but, having taken the blue bins up to the Cheadle Recycling Centre, can I say that the results were astounding – there were very few instances of mistakes, i.e. of the wrong recycled waste in the wrong bin!
To a certain extent I think our Fayre visitors are ahead of the general population in honouring the recycling ethos!”

And the bins weren’t the only ‘green’ thing at the fayre. The kids’ art competition (another first for the fayre) had for its theme, Saving The Planet – and the young people responded brilliantly.

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In their drawings and painting, you could see that they understood the issues of the environment very well – much better than some of us older ones in fact.

Village level

The organisers of Draycott Fayre hope that their good example will be noticed by all households in the neighbourhood. Many of us sadly do not yet recycle, and those of us who do don’t always bother to do it right.

So, if you want to get recycling done right…
For how to use our municipal recycling bins properly, click here.
There is also a newly opened Eco-Centre in Uttoxeter where volunteers are happy to give advice if you are still confused.

Climate emergency

This month also saw the formal declaration of a pledge by our representatives at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030. This was in response to councillors’ increasing worries about climate-change – because experts think we have just 12 years left until it gets irreversible.
SMDC followed a good example: one of Theresa May’s last acts as prime minster was to commit the UK to halving carbon emissions by 2030 – the first leading nation to do so.

Not surprisingly, the move was welcomed by the local ‘Staffordshire Moorlands Climate-Action Community’ organisation, a new action group.

And what about our own village council? Will Draycott Council follow the lead of other community councils and take up the climate pledge? It would be good to think they would.

In a way, Draycott is already a centre for sustainable energy. The district already hosts one ‘solar farm’ (where solar panels harness the energy from the sun to make electricity), i.e. the Newton Solar Farm; and it looks like we may be welcoming another one soon (for details, see Cresswell solar farm proposal.)

Wind turbines

But the big test of our local representatives’ green credentials will be when the next crop of applications to build wind turbines comes up.
So far Staffordshire Moorlands and Draycott Council, and even our local MP Bill Cash, have opposed new turbines whenever they could.
Will they change their minds?

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