Category Archives: infrastructure

NEWS: drilling ops / monument repairs / WW2 book

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-February 2021
In this post we have news of…: a new borehole for Cresswell / old tomb restored / book about ww2 locally / Covid diminishing (?) / website stats….

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

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Drilling in Cresswell

Cresswell is not Texas and the substance underground is not the same, but nevertheless, drilling operations will commence here in the summer. This time however, the engineers are drilling for water, not oil.
Already there is some coming and going at the Cresswell Waterworks station (opposite the Izaak Walton) as ‘enabling activities’ get under way. The idea is to sink a new borehole to try and find another source to supply Stoke-on-Trent with clean water.

The old Cresswell Pumping Station (courtesy Chris Allen, licensed for CC reuse)

Older residents will remember the first pumping station on the site, which was opened in 1932, the original pump steam engines being wonderful to see, with beautiful fly wheels and brass fittings. It was said that, if they stopped pumping, the water surged up to the top of the borehole – because the water level is so high in Cresswell!
The old building was largely demolished in the 1970s, and the site mothballed – but then modernised again by the Severn Trent Water & Sewage Company.

Dates for the drilling are not finalised, but we’ll bring them to you when we know them.

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Covid, one year on

After our health district (‘Blythe Bridge, Caverswall & Draycott’) was found to be a hotspot as little as three months ago, the good news is that testing centres in our district have discovered almost no new cases in the last week.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any, just that few were found.

Unfortunately, that does not mean we can relax.
The stats reveal that over the past year, some twelve million in England have contracted Covid – but it’s reckoned that an amazing one in three people who get the virus (especially the young) don’t even realise it. The problem is: even if you have no symptoms, you can still infect others when you breathe out.
So… local health experts believe that mask-wearing for all is likely to remain compulsory in public buildings round here for a long time.

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New book about WW2

Some of us will know Annette Jinks well – she studies the local history of our area and writes fascinating books about it. Her latest book (co-authored with Noel Green) is called War Comes To Tean and is an account of how the village fared in the Second World War, with not just biographies of the young men & women who went away to fight, but accounts of activities on the home-front too.

As Tean and Draycott-in-the-Moors lie right next to each other, there are lots of references in the book to Draycott; in fact the Home Guard used fields in Newton (near Cresswell) to practice throwing hand grenades!
One sad event was the death of a young American pilot whose plane crashed into (thankfully empty) cottages in Riverside Road in Tean – worshippers from Draycott Church, including Sara & Jeffrey Gibson, were involved in the project to build a memorial to the incident. (Click on this link for more detail about that incident)

There are lots of amazing stories in the book, and great old photographs (including some of Camp Bolero, the wartime base in Cresswell for an American company of soldiers) – so this book is well worth the cover price!
The book sells out with each printing, so you’ll need to email Annette to find out when the book is next available.

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Listed monument repair

Talking of history, it’s good to see that repairs on the Anna Hyatt Tomb, which is in St Margaret’s churchyard (see pic below), have now been completed. The ‘chest-tomb’ as this type of memorial is called, was crumbling a bit, and affected by ivy, so the repairs were timely.

Hyatt Memorial Tomb with ivy
Hyatt Memorial – before the ivy was removed

The tomb, dated 1827, is one of more than a dozen ‘structures of great national heritage’ named in our district, and is one of the most important, being listed as ‘grade two’.
The money for the work was donated jointly by the Moorlands Partnership Board and The Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust.

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Website stats

Finally, the annual statistics for websites like this one you’re reading right now have been released now.
What they show is that, in 2020, this website (https://draycottinmoors.wordpress.com/) attracted 10,846 visitors (including 2000 American visitors!) and 22,282 page-views. This is despite the facts that (due to illness and loss of writers) we only managed to put up 27 posts across the year (compared to 76 back in 2015).
The news pages were the most popular, but pages on local history and on local footpaths also did very well.
Not bad for a website whose target audience is just 1000 people (i.e. the population of Draycott-in-the-Moors)…!

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NEWS: new speed limits / Silver / scary leaflet / sport debut / cricket

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2020
In this post we have news of…: new speed limits / missing Silver / a scare-mongering leaflet / Jordan’s league debut / cricket is back…

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New speed limits

It looks likely that new speed limits will soon be brought in for the centre of the village. The new limits will apply in central Draycott, in anticipation of a proposed new roundabout there.

Proposed roundabout diagram

Proposed roundabout diagram (detail)

The limit will be reduced from 40mph to 30mph along two stretches: from (roughly) Ford’s (Fayre) Field to Manor Farm; and along Cresswell Lane, from the Draycott junction to (roughly) the Sports Centre.

Annoyingly, at first Highways left residents hardly any time for a public consultation period, so they were forced to extend it by three weeks (from late June to July 14th).
However, very oddly – despite being given this extension and all the public interest -, when our village council met on July 13th, it still did not come up with a formal response to the plans. It’s not clear why not.
(It’s not the first time the village council have failed to put in responses to infrastructure consultations – and you do have to wonder at that kind of record…)

It also seems a bit strange that the Highways Department wants to do this now, because there are still no definite dates for the construction of this particular roundabout – the very reason for the new speed limits!
But anyway, for many residents, sick of the speeding along Uttoxeter Road, it will be good news that there will likely now be new limits.

The changes, when they come in, will follow another speed-limit change in the village – at the west end, where the dual carriageway is now a 40mph zone after having been a 60mph zone up until the New Year. (It was changed to accommodate the new Blythe Fields housing estate there).

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Jordan gets his boots on

The local paper, the Cheadle&Tean Times, has been following the career of Jordan Brown, the Cresswell lad who is steadily going up the professional football ladder. After going through the Stoke City Academy, getting taken on at Derby County, playing in their reserves and in European tournaments, the latest good news that the paper reports is that Jordan has now made his debut in Derby’s first side, in a full Football League match. He came on as a substitute in Derby’s encounter at West Brom earlier this month.
Well done Jordan…

It’s interesting to think that Jordan was taken on at Derby when Frank Lampard was manager there – because if there is one good opinion worth having in football, it’s Frank’s!

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Cricket is back

More sport – we have the return of cricket to the Creswell ground of Blythe CC. (The coronavirus crisis meant that the start of the season, which was due in mid-April, had to be suspended.)

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

This will be a strange season, as all sorts of social distancing rules will apply (except for wicket-keepers and slips); there will be no promotion or relegation; and overseas players, who bring so much excitement to the games, are not permitted.
The good thing is that spectators are allowed at the Cresswell ground for the matches, so long as they spread out. Even the bar is open, even if you can’t hang about inside it.

The first home game for the First XI, at the Cresswell ground, is on Saturday July 25th. See our What’s On page for other fixtures.

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Scary …

Many of us have received a strange leaflet, called CV19 Facts Not Fear, through our letterboxes. It’s printed by an anonymous local supporter of Vigiliae, which is a small conspiracy-theory group associated with David Icke. (Mr Icke was recently banned from Facebook for publishing “health misinformation that could cause physical harm”, and he also believes that reptilian beings have invaded the earth).
Mostly Vigiliae has been pushing the wild idea that mobile phone masts give you cancer, but now it has the pandemic in its sights. Vigiliae's Covid 19 leafletThis leaflet outlines ten reasons why we should disbelieve the government and health authorities over Covid, and it encourages us to defy the coronavirus guidelines and rules. It even suggests that any vaccine developed in the next few months is likely to cause cancers…

Now, as any reader of this website will know, we do believe in healthy questioning of the authorities, but this is extreme and dangerous stuff.
We suggest that the best thing the person who delivered it should do is ask to speak at the next village council meeting and put across their views in open debate. The village council has been putting out community health messages over this year, so it is a good forum for such a debate.
And, if they want to debate, we are ready for them!

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Looking for Silver

Finally, we don’t usually do lost & found, because the village Facebook page does it better, but there is one case that is worrying.
Silver the cat
Silver, a grey-haired one-eyed housecat, was apparently taken from her home and then dumped somewhere in Draycott. This was at the beginning of July.
Usually cats are sighted eventually – but not this time.
Do you have any news? Owner Tim would like to know – on 07505 041712.

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NEWS: turning worries / badger cull / housing plans / RIP Carole & Mary

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2020
In this post we have news of…: concerns about the Blythe road turning / end to cull / more housing on the horizon / St Mary’s loss

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Junction issue

Now that traffic flow is picking up again with the easing of coronavirus lockdown, we return to the issue of the new road-layout on the turning into Blythe Bridge. Already there have been collisions there, and one councillor has expressed serious concerns.

Road map: A521 turning

Road map shows the sharp hairpin bend turning

For traffic coming into Draycott from the A50 roundabout, the turning into Blythe Bridge is quite a nasty left-hand hairpin bend – so, up until the end of last year, there used to be a slip road, to make the turning easier.
But the slip-road has now gone; a new pavement has been built on top of it. (This new pavement connects the new Blythe Fields estate to the junction).

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But, the new arrangement causes two problems.
First, large wagons have to move into the dual carriageway’s outside (right-hand) lane, then slow down considerably, and then take a large turning circle across the inside lane just to get into the turning.
Secondly, because the turning is so badly signposted on the dual carriageway, motorists unused to the area see the turning late, and have brake a lot as they approach the turning, just to make this sharp manoeuvre.

Councillor Barry Yates, of next-door Forsbrook Council, is so concerned about this that he’s asked for a formal site visit & report from the local county councillor.
We’ll keep you posted.

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Recovery means … more homes

Many of us will have heard in the news that one of the ways that the government wants to solve the homes crisis and also to get the economy on track is to spend ‘billions’ on enabling construction projects.
That sounds great at first, but Draycott people may want to just think a second about the implications.

(The government has also promised the “most radical reforms of the planning system for 60 years”. We all know what that means – huge developers will get even more of their own way – for example, SMDCouncil has been humiliated more than once already over the Blythe Fields development).

The implication of the announcement is that St Modwen Ltd will be able now to more easily hurry through the next phase of its development in Draycott, building even more homes along the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road. As the planning officer said at the time: “Having built the access road (to build the first part of the site), it’s now much easier to work on building the second part.”

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites – Draycott on left

There is outline permission for building all along the ridge, on both sides of the A50, as far as Cresswell (see yellow zone in pic above). Watch this space.

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Badgers update

What with the coronavirus crisis, other news has got lost a bit.
One item was that the national badger cull has now been called off.  The experiment, of trapping and killing badgers (humanely) inside special zones, was to try to see how much badgers spread tuberculosis to cattle. Farmers were largely for it; animal conservationists against it.Badger (pic from Wikipedia)
The reason it matters to Draycott is that, although the details of the ‘killing zones’ were secret, some locations were leaked – and we know that one such zone was not far from here.

The project was called off just as female badgers were producing litters – which will please the conservationists, but not the farmers…

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May they rest in peace

Finally, we have lost two long-standing members of our community.
Mary Crowther, who was 97, and Carole Toft, 80, both died last month. Both worshipped at the small Catholic church of St Mary’s in Cresswell, where they will certainly be missed by the remaining congregation.
RIP.

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NEWS: scarecrows / speeding / homes for sale / Old Lane restored

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2020
In this post we have news of…: scarecrow happiness / speeding on empty roads / historic homes for sale / Cresswell Old Lane is back!

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Scarecrow togetherness

Congratulations are due all round for the wonderful Draycott-in-the-Moors Scarecrow Festival  that took place across Draycott & Cresswell on the bank holiday weekend this month.
Nearly fifty households took part and there were some stunningly inventive and very humorous creations! Most importantly though, it brought people together.

Three people should be singled out though.
Chief among them is the main festival organiser Kate Bradshaw, who was tireless, despite the fact that she has plenty of other responsibilities.
Also, Helen Bickerton, who heads up the team at our local community-library centre at Blythe, deserves praise for stumping up the prizes, and taking part in a long day of judging.
And also Lee Warburton. Lee is basically the main man behind the village Facebook page, which has been so vital a lifeline during this current crisis, and it was he who collated the photo album of the festival. If you haven’t seen the album, click here and check out the brilliant entries.

Draycott Scarecrow 2020 First prize to Norman and Nella at 95 Uttoxeter Road

Scarecrow 2020 first prize to Norman and Nella on Uttoxeter Road

It’s not a coincidence that it is these same three individuals who have also pulled together the local Coronavirus volunteer support groups which have been working across the district to make sure no one who asks for help goes unaided.
Yes, each team’s individual volunteer plays their part and we shouldn’t forget that, but a big debt of gratitude is owed to these three in particular.
If they don’t each get a Certificate Of Thanks from the village council at the end of this year, then there’s no justice in this world.

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Speed-crow

One scarecrow in the festival was about more than just fun, it was making an important point.
The empty roads of the last two months have, unfortunately, encouraged some complete idiots to treat some our long stretches as racetracks. Two long straight runs, one along Uttoxeter Road from Blythe roundabout and the one to the railway crossing in Cresswell, are both 40mph limits, but sometimes you wouldn’t have believed it.

This clever scarecrow (pic right) on Cresswell’s Sandon Road, with its silver foil speed-gun and frowning face, didn’t fool anybody of course, but let’s hope it made the idiots think, at least for a second.

In the meantime, we are still waiting for the two speed-warning signs which should have been up in Draycott by now. Nearly eighteen months ago, the village council were given £5000 by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership to purchase and erect them – but the project only limps along.

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Historic homes for sale

The recent easing of the restrictions on the property market means that three of our most interesting and historic homes are now properly back up for sale.

First: the old School House in Cresswell, which is so called because the Catholic church in the village maintained a small primary school on the site for many years.
Second:  Totmonslow Farm Cottage (seen from the back, right), which would once have belonged to the farm estate, but now it is separate.

Totmonslow Farm Cottage from the back

Totmonslow Farm Cottage, from the back

And then there is the 200 year-old Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell. It has been ‘dark’ for some time now, so it was no surprise when the brewery-owners sold it last year.
However the individual who bought it managed to get planning permission to re-develop it (with support from the village council) as a family home – which was a surprise, as it is Cresswell’s only ‘community asset’.
However, again, it is now back on the market, and goes to auction on June 1st.

Incidentally, it is hoped that the memorabilia from the Izaak (regulars will remember the old photos that used to line the walls, the old fish-figure weather-vane etc etc) might be saved for the village. The clerk of the village council, Denise Wheat, is on to the job – good luck Denise.

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Cresswell gets it right

Finally, the long-running saga of the road-sign on Cresswell Old Lane is over.
Some eight years ago, a keen-eyed resident noticed that the eastern half of Cresswell Old Lane was wrongly called ‘Cresswell Old Road, not just on Google Maps, but even on one of the official road-signs. And so he reported it to the authorities.
The details of this long-running saga to get the name corrected have been tiring and frustrating (even if a bit humorous at times!), but at last the sign has been corrected.

Cresswell Old Lane sign – right at last!

But… safe to say that the residents of Cresswell Old Lane can sleep sound in their beds at last, knowing that they are now definitely living in the road that they are supposed to be living in…

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Venting Draycott’s poisonous gases

If you’ve ever walked along Draycott Old Road, you’ll have noticed some odd little green metal posts. They used to be incredibly important – but they are redundant these days.
They are (were) sewer vents; and poisonous gases once issued from them.

Adams sewer-vent in Draycott Old Road

Adams sewer-vent in Draycott Old Road

Back in the day, the local council and/or water board was responsible for ‘venting’, ie clearing, sewers. In Draycott, in those days, the authority was The Staffordshire Potteries Water Board, but the Cheadle Rural Council would also have had a role to play. It was down to them to ensure that gases did not build up in sewers.
(Nowadays, it is the responsibility of householders. This is why we all now have tall waste-pipes on the outside of our houses – from which noxious gases can escape at the top).

By contrast, rainwater goes down a different system, usually to an underground stream.

As tall as lampposts

Problems with gases were especially worrisome in housing areas where the lie of the land rose into a hump. At such a high point, rising gases could accumulate in the sewers under the road, presenting possible danger. Methane gas (though non-toxic) is especially flammable.

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The housing along Draycott Old Road is on a hump – and that is why vents were needed there.

Vent at Styal Industrial Museum

Vent at Styal Industrial Museum

When vents were first installed, they were much higher – as tall as lampposts – and the gases would emerge from the openings at the top, and blow away in the wind harmlessly.

If you go to the Styal Mill industrial museum near to Manchester, then you may see two examples of the full thing, one restored (see pic, right), the other not.

The vents in Dryacott are thought to have been in use until the 1950s.
Older people in the village remember that the top sections were eventually sawn off in the early 1980s, and then the vents capped with concrete (for safety reasons).
The one at the top of Stuart Avenue was cut down in the mid-1980s.

More research to do

The puzzles are of course: why weren’t they cut to the base when they were finally decommissioned?; and why does Draycott have a few left standing when they are very rare elsewhere?

But they are not without interest still. Down the sides of the vents is the name of the maker – Adams.
This can either be the famous Adams & Son family firm of potters which had a 200-year history in north Staffordshire before the family finally sold up (to Wegwood) in 1966.
Or, more likely, it could relate to the equally famous Brittain & Adams plumbing company which was founded in 1833 in Tunstall, but sadly went bust in 2018.
Historians researching old sewage systems occasionally come by…

Finally, let’s hope the vents are left alone to slumber in peace. If nothing else, they are a reminder of our recent past, when Draycott was a different place.

[Thanks to Matt Pointon and GP for input & help on this article.]

We have tried hard in this article to be accurate, but if think corrections or amendments are needed, please email us with your thoughts.

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NEWS of: broadband / roadworks / festive lights

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early January 2020
In this post we have news of…: ‘superfast’ broadband for Draycott (a bit) / roadworks puzzles / festive lights on homes … (NB – for what’s on, check out the Events page).
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Roadworks information – very puzzling

The last bulletin from the Staffs Highways Department about the A521 roadworks at the end of Draycott was as near to official gobbledegook as you could get. Did anyone really understand it?
On the village Facebook page, the discussion about it showed we were all baffled by the complicated language of it. Which way in was it to be? Were we supposed to skip from one lane to another? Etc etc.
We contacted the department for clarification, but (of course, you’d guess it) the department has now completely discontinued its telephone helpline, so that idea was no use, while the actual A521 email helpline was closed for the holidays until early January. Sigh…
As for the official roadworks.org map, it had no specific details at all and even now claims that roadworks will go on till April 30th (which was new to us!).  We do hope someone somewhere will really make a point about how bad the information service (not to mention the signage) has been on this whole matter.

This is our best interpretation of the gobbledegook:
From Monday 6th: eastbound traffic still can get into Draycott directly from the A50, albeit a little snakily. Buses also will still get through. Lights will operate. HGVs cannot go this way and will have to make their own arrangements. Meanwhile, westbound traffic can still get directly out of Draycott from the A50, albeit using only one lane.
From Wednesday 22nd: (THIS IS A REVISED DATE; THE ORIGINAL DATE WAS JAN 27th) eastbound traffic still can get directly into Draycott from the A50 – but westbound traffic will be unable to get out of Draycottt straight on to the A50, because all westbound lanes are closed.
From 13th March: some normality returns (we hope)

… though, as the bulletin ‘helpfully’ says, St Modwen’s road engineers can simply close the access points at any time if they feel they need to. Sigh again…

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Lighting up time

The Christmas cheer was a little less in 2019, if you assess cheer by the amount of homes lit up in the village. There were definitely fewer.
Maybe we are all gloomy after a long year of politics, and more politics…? Could be.
But well done to those who made the effort.

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The lights gave the rest of us something to smile about – for a moment at least.

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Spread the broadband spread

Staffs County Council’s ‘Superfast Staffordshire’ project has just issued a self-congratulatory press release saying that the county now has an extra 80,000 rural households receiving full-fibre broadband thanks to them…. “including Draycott-in-the-Moors”.
Some people in the village will be surprised that Draycott is in the statement.

Yes, it’s true that folks in central Cresswell have been getting superfast for some months now, and certain parts of Draycott have it too… but certainly not all of Draycott in the Moors. According to the latest broadband spread map (dated autumn 2019), the western end of the village is still waiting, while southern Cresswell-to-Hilderstone section as well as poor Totmonslow have more or less been abandoned.
(One would love for the village council to make more of a fuss with the authorities about poor old Totmonslow, but they haven’t discussed local broadband provision at a council meeting for years now.)

If you do want to check your own broadband speeds, we recommend the Ofcom checker.

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NEWS: election / lane re-surface / Colours 150th / squash

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid December 2019
In this post we have news of…: the election candidates / Church Lane – repaired! / Blythe Colours 150th anniversary / Draycott to be squash centre (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a community carols service …  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Candidates’ lack of interest

Everybody keeps rushing around saying this is one of the most exciting elections ever… but not, it seems, in our constituency (‘Stone, Cheadle & Madeley’). It is so dull round here, that the BBC’s news-page for our constituency lists… no updates at all!

As for the candidates, well, sigh. Most of them can’t even be bothered to write up their official webpages.
The Conservative candidate hasn’t bothered to write up his official webpage at all (!) ;
The Green candidate has at least listed his name on his… but nothing else  ;
The Labour candidate  has put up a thumbnail biog, but no manifesto (and it’s one month out of date anyway) ;
So well done to the only candidate who bothered to put up a manifesto on his official webpage – the Liberal Democrat.

Thus … what do we really know? We know the oldest candidate is the Conservative, at 79, and the youngest is the Lib Dem; the Lib Dem and the Green actually live in the constituency; and that the Conservative is the sitting MP, while the rest are all local councillors.

person dropping paper on box

So, thank goodness for the local press! Without them, we’d know very little indeed. Check out the constituency hyper-local news website for profile-statements by all the candidates.
And the only time candidates seemed prepared to answer the tough questions ‘live’ was in a video-stream recorded on December 3rd, which is still available to view online. (The candidates did have to deal with one very tricky question, about the local badger-TB cull, which is worth checking out).
Actually, this video is also worth watching if you are still undecided who (or what) to vote for, as it’s probably the only time in this election you’ll get to see all four candidates in action.

All in all, you’d have hoped our candidates would have put on a better show if they wanted our votes. Bit depressing.

However, yes, we know, it’s a citizen’s duty to vote…
Voting actually takes place this week – on Thursday (12th) between 7am and 10pm at Draycott Church Hall.

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St Modwen do a Saint Nick

It’s not often a major developer plays Santa Claus, but that is exactly what is happening in Draycott.
St Modwen Homes, which is building the Blythe Vale estate at the eastern end of the village, have decided to send their chaps along to have them repair the road leading up to St Margaret’s Church. And it needs repair a good deal; in fact Church Lane is so full of potholes that it resembles the surface of the moon, and some undertakers have, more than once, threatened not even to take hearses up it!

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors – before….

And how come this Christmassy warm gesture???
Well, we owe a lot of it to our county councillor, Mark Deavillmark deavillee, (see pic right) who, in his own words “made a “cheeky request… but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”
As we all know, contractors working for St Modwen are currently re-shaping the stretch of our carriageway leading on to the A50 – so Mark just asked if some of them could be freed up to come along and fix Church Lane. He was backed up in his efforts by some timely letters from Joyce Moore of the Church Hall Committee … and St Modwen agreed!
So.. the lane has now been resurfaced from the bottom of the bank almost to the church car park – a distance of around one hundred yards.

Incidentally, this is not a piece of the local community-compensation works (aka the ‘S106 Agreement’)  that developers are obliged to do. It appears to be a freebie.

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Merry Xmas St Modwen! And merry Xmas, Joyce and Mark….
Good job!

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More squash

An interesting line came out of a recent meeting by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in which councillors were examining how best to ‘reorganise’ leisure services across the area.
You won’t be surprised to learn that it involve cuts – and the Leisure Centre in Cheadle looks like it could be closed, including its swimming pool.

There might well also be cuts in the range of squash courts.

draycott sports centre sign

Draycott Sports Centre

However, the (very slim) silver lining is that this means some investment may well come to Draycott Sports Centre. The centre already provides squash courts, but soon it may be the only venue for squash in the Moorlands … so the centre may get cash from SMDC for expansion.
Watch this space.

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A colourful date

Finally, a date for your diary: Monday 6th January between 6pm and 7pm.
This is the date for an open meeting, to take place at Blythe Library, for anyone who wants to help create or take part in the Blythe Colours Cresswell Factory 150th Anniversary Celebrations.

The old colour-making works, which used to be on Blythe Park, closed down a few decades ago of course, but in its time provided employment for thousands of Draycott & Cresswell folk.

Ivan Wozniak and Jill Crowther, who co-ordinate the group, believe a big exhibition should be one of the events to be held next summer. Ivan told us: “Good news! I am pleased to report that the local chemicals firm Johnson Matthey have agreed to support our proposed 150 years celebration of Blythe Colours with a £500 donation!
He went on to say “…. but we will need all the help we can get, no matter how small. If you want to find out more about what we want to do, please come along to our ideas meeting next month.
All are welcome, and you don’t have to have worked at the factory to attend. All input, from anyone, welcome!

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NEWS: roadworks / hustings / chimes / knitted angels

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks delays / election hustings for us / knit angels for Xmas / the chimes at the church (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Cresswell party night …  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Roadworks dates

The incessant rains have not only caused flash flooding in the village but have also delayed the roadworks up by the A521-A50 roundabout.

So we contacted Colin Redmond, the Project Manager, for an update, and he told us that a revised schedule was now in place, meaning that…
~Eastbound incoming lanes will now remain closed until Monday 16 December.
~Then the Christmas break comes into force, i.e. there will be a lane open both ways – until Thursday 9 Jan.
~On Thursday 9 Jan, the big reversal takes place – with westbound, outgoing lanes closed altogether, but with an eastbound, incoming lane now open – until February 14th.
~After February 14th, things get a bit more messy as all the loose ends are tidied up, so the arrangements for these weeks following might be in more flux.
In theory, it should all be over by mid March.

So far, the roadworks have caused few problems for us, but the second phase (i.e. the one starting in January) was always the one that was going to be the most difficult. In this second phase, we will see a heavier concentration of traffic through Blythe Bridge and so, possible delays.
Patience will be needed…

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Seen a candidate?

It always annoys us when people argue against proportional representation for Parliament by saying that “at least we will get a representative who is truly local and whom we can talk to”.
The true fact is that, in most constituencies, one rarely sees one’s MP!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.comFor example, we were really hoping for a local village-hall hustings this election time. (Hustings are when the candidates come together on a panel to appear before a local audience). In fact, in Stoke, hustings are already set to take place.
But, here in our constituency (the constituency of Stone), only one full one has been arranged so far – and that will be online only!

Still, anyway, well done to the local online news-website A Little Bit of Stone for organising it. If you click on to their Facebook site on the evening of Wed December 3rd (between 7pm and 9pm), you will observe the candidates ‘debating’ live as they make their pitches on a video stream.

The only local other hustings we know of is in Eccleshall (one of the main towns in our constituency along with Stone, Cheadle, Blythe Bridge and Madeley) on Thursday 28th. However, it is not a full hustings because the Conservative candidate has declined to appear; all the other candidates will be there though (click here for candidates list).
It’s at the Royal Oak pub in Eccleshall from 7.30pm; it’s been organised by the Eccleshall Today website.

Incidentally, if you want to submit questions for the candidates to answer in this ‘hustings’ event on Dec 3rd, click here to see the question form.

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Christmas is coming

Nice to see that the local churches are already publishing their Christmas schedules. Here in Draycott, our community carols will take place on Sunday Dec 22nd.
For details of this and more Christmas events, see our What’s On page.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you’re something of a knitter, you could also take part in our local Knitted Angels project.
Chrissi Thompson, who used to run the Draycott Youth Club, is asking us to make little knitted figures which will then be situated in public sight around the district… to make us all feel a bit more Christmassy. It’s a great idea.

For more details and for patterns, contact Chrissi.

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“Christmas bells, Christmas bells…”

Finally, we smiled on reading a post on the village Facebook page where there was a discussion about St Margaret’s bells ringing on the hour. Was the church’s bell-ringing team really traipsing up to the church to ring the bells every sixty minutes?

Well, it would be nice to think they were but, no, they aren’t! The chimes ringing from the church are on a timer.

If you’re thinking that you can’t remember hearing them, it’s not just because they are relatively quiet. The fact is that the chiming mechanism had not been working for a long time; and it took major efforts by Draycott’s Mr-Fixit, John Clarke, to get it all working again, and they’ve only been in action a while.
Well done to him!  They have a magical, traditional sound.

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As for the St Margaret’s Church bell-ringing team, yes, they are still going strong, and it will be great to hear them pull a full peal of bells on Christmas Day…
(If you fancy joining the bell-ringing team – and it’s a great way to keep fit! – contact David Meller.)

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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: floods / houses for sale / voting / poppies

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks progress / teas anyone? / graves appear at St M’s! / new saint’s connection (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including two fireworks displays …  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Fancy a garnet?

As we reported before, sales are already underway for the houses on the coming St Modwen housing estate, which is being built at the west end of Draycott.
The sales brochure too is now published with a street-map of how the estate is to be arranged and where each type of house is going. The cheapest housing will be sited alongside on the estate’s border with the A50 highway, with the more expensive on the Draycott Level side.

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The brochure also lists (nearly) all the types of houses that will be available on ‘Blythe Fields’. A ‘Garnet’ style house is the most expensive at £360,000.
Curiously, the only kind of housing that is not advertised for sale in the brochure is the low-income housing; nor does the brochure tell you how to apply for that housing.
Curious… Hmm.

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Torrents lead to floods

The torrential and unceasing rain a few days ago led, as you’d expect, to flash floods pretty much everywhere, including here. Zara Hutson, who co-runs the Draycott Arms, captured this amazing shot (below) when the flooding was at its height on Cheadle Road just outside her doors. Flash flooding Cheadle Road draycott
Most of it was, fortunately, just flash flooding, and receded quickly once the rain ceased, but we still have well-known problem areas which have more long-lasting flooding.
The drains on certain stretches of Uttoxeter Road, right through Draycott to Tean, are simply no longer coping well, and water lies in dangerous pools on these busy roads after heavy rain.

It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you are on (– is the Staffs County Highways Department incompetent? …or… is the government starving local authorities of money, which is why repairs are so slow? -), the fact is we’ve been waiting years now for some of the drainage systems to be sorted.
Sadly, no one should hold their breath that it will all be fixed soon.

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Happy days … another election!

… yes, we are being sarcastic of course.
However, this one really is a biggie, there’s no doubt about that, and will (if we get a definite result) change this country for the next five years.
We are in the constituency of Stone.

So… if you are not registered to vote, get yourself sorted now. Already, across the country, thousands of people (mostly younger people) have been doing just that – and you still have time. The cut-off date to register (to vote in the election in December) is November 26th.
Click here to find out the process. It’s pretty simple.

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Poppies for remembrance

Some people on the village Facebook page were puzzled – but pleased – to see a lot of poppies attached to lampposts in the village, and wondered who had put them there.
It’s actually pretty straightforward – they were put up by order of the Draycott village council, and congratulations should go to the council’s clerk, Denise Wheat, for organising the distribution.
Cresswell Poppy display 2019The poppies are to mark Armistice Day of course, which falls on November 11th (Monday) – though the main ceremonies will be carried out on Remembrance Sunday (which is on Nov 10th this year) – see our events page for details of what’s happening.

Last year many village councils adopted this neighbourhood poppy display as a one-off initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, but our council has decided to do it again this year.

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DIY for £300,000

Ever fancied buying a charming old property and completing doing it up? Now’s your chance if you have £300,000 or so.
That’s the asking price for Totmonslow Farm Cottage (see pic below), which is on the market at the moment and being sold by Kevin Ford Estate AgentsTotmonslow Farm Cottage
It’s smaller than it looks (2 bedrooms) and needs some renovation – but the Totmonslow rural area is still a great place to live.
We’re off to buy a lottery ticket…!

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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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

Roadworks decision

Finally common sense has prevailed on the current Draycott A521 Roadworks Project being conducted by St Modwen Homes.

At the very last minute, St Modwen has “found a way” to compromise, and we now have a partial solution to the roadworks issue. It will not totally satisfy all, but it is a halfway-house.

There won’t be a contraflow, which the community would have liked best, but the time-frame (nineteen weeks) also means that St Modwen can still just-about open its housing estate there on time.

Intervention

On the original plan, there was to be no way to the A50 roundabout in or out of Draycott.
It took a last-minute intervention by Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, to make the difference. It looks like he banged a few heads together, and we now have the compromise.

So… at “most times” there will be one lane open through the roadworks, either going out of Draycott, or coming in. But no contraflow.
Instead of ten weeks for the project time-frame, as St Modwen hoped for, it will be extended by a further two months, so – in theory – it should be all done and dusted by the end of February.

A dedicated webpage has been created to keep us immediately up to date (in theory) with any changes on the works site, and alerting us as to which direction the ‘free’ lane will be using in each week.

Yes, this compromise will not suit everyone, and we too think that there were more intelligent solutions, but… at least we got some result.

People power

For once, we can see that social media has been a power for good.
Although the roadworks plan was announced in late July, our respective village councils were slow to react, and even sat on their hands.

So it was left to the people. It took a strong popular response, especially from village websites like this one and from the two community Facebook groups (Draycott and Blythe Bridge), to get the debate up and running.
This strong response forced Staffordshire Highways/St Modwen to back off, and they postponed the original start-date (which had been Sept 7th). As we know, it was then postponed a few more times, until this final start-date of October 8th.

However, we also have to thank the two county councillors – Mark Deaville (for the Draycott end) and Keith Flunder (for the Blythe Bridge end) who, alerted to the strength of local concerns, now both waded in to the conflict.
We suspect it was pressure from these two that brought Philip Atkins into the issue – and he had the power to force a re-think from St Modwen…

(St Modwen’s engineers had said it was impossible to keep a lane free because the included drainage works under the road would mean the whole width of the road would be being used all the time.
Now they have come up with a solution.
Curious, that…).

Let’s hope that, even though it’s a compromise, it all works out…

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