Category Archives: leisure

NEWS of: helicopters deadline / restaurant finals / Cresswell quiz / St M’s heritage day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late July 2022.
In this post we have news of…: do you want the proposed helicopter factory? Gandhi Restaurant in line for award / combined walk & quiz for Cresswell / Draycott church goes national…
There are also loads of events in & around our district this next few weeks! Sports camps for kids in Draycott is just one of the highlights: please go to our What’s On page

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

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Helicopters … wanted? needed?

As we reported in our last post, suddenly a lot of big planning issues are hitting Cresswell.
However, the most urgent one is the question of the proposed helicopter factory (see our last post for the details).
Is it needed? Is it wanted? Those are the questions we are being asked to respond to by the local planners… and the deadline to make any comments is now upon us.

The residents’ group, the BPDWG, is certainly worried, so they have been busy delivering leaflets about the issue (see above) to all local households – which makes that the second set of leaflets they’ve delivered in a month (the first leaflet was about the proposed junction in the middle of Cresswell).

There are so many odd questions about this development: –
# Why is the decision being rushed through? Why is the decision being left to planning officials rather than put before the full planning committee?
(Could it possibly be because the company’s order book is already full to 2025, so somewhere to actually build the aircraft is now urgent?)
# Why has the company, Hill Helicopters, chosen this site in particular?
# Will the 200-approx employees be trained here, or have to be brought in?
# If the factory starts production in a year’s time (as Hill hopes) how soon will they be turning out the 1000 aircraft a year that they are aiming for? (Incidentally, the BPDWG estimates that this rate of production means around sixty test and delivery flights each working day in our skies.)

Artist’s impression of how the Hill Helicopters factory at Cresswell will look

If you want the full set of details, it’s worth checking out the case review-document produced by the residents’ group.

Whatever, time is of the essence. As we said, it’s all being rushed through, so if you want your comments to be registered, you need to put them in very soon. Go to the SMDC Planning Page 0275, find the button which says ‘Comment On This Application’, click on it, and jot down your views. 

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A walking quiz

As it’s summertime, we’ve updated the Cresswell Trail – a two mile walk around the hamlet. It combines the walk with a quiz about local matters – the questions are suitable for children and adults. There are around fifty questions, so plenty to get stuck into!

In the Cresswell Trail-Quiz, there is a question about the decades-old graffiti on the hamlet’s ancient bridge

To find it, just check out our Local Walks Page, where you’ll find details it and of even more walks around Draycott. 

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It’s back

Slowly but almost inevitably, it’s been creeping back into our lives. Yes, Covid infections are up again, back to late-2021 levels in fact. Even the President of the United States is one of the new victims.
Thanks to the vaccinations programmes (with more to come in the autumn), it’s not the horrific disease it once was for most of us, and most of the folk we know who’ve got it recently have come down with a very nasty but fortunately not terminal attack (though, sadly, yes, there are still fatal cases).
Still, the message is obvious. Especially around the vulnerable, we need to be careful… again… 

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Curry wonders!!

Great news is that the Indian restaurant in Cresswell, the Gandhi, has just been nominated as one of the finalists in this year’s English Curry Awards (West Mids section).
As you can imagine, this is a very tough competition, with the best of the nation’s curry-houses all vying to be recognised.

The Gandhi’s achievement is even more special when you think it is one of the very few countryside eateries to be selected for the finals: it’s up against some top-notch city restaurants from Birmingham and the Black Country. The black-tie awards ceremony will take place on 22nd August at The Holiday Inn in Birmingham.
We wish them the best of luck! 

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St Margaret’s diary date

One event that should go into your diary now is the Heritage Day at Draycott Saint Margaret’s Church on Sat Sept 17th.
St Margaret’s is one of the very few Staffordshire churches to be selected to be featured in the National Heritage Open Days events.
On the day, there will be guided tours of the church, fun-quiz sheets, and stewards available to answer questions.

Just one of the dragons to be found in Draycott Church

It’s expected that visitors will be coming from all over the region, especially to see the 600 year old tomb-statues inside the Lady Chapel and the dragons (yes, dragons!).
However, local residents are especially welcome – so do please put the date in your diary, and then do come along and look round this fascinating & ancient church of ours.

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

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

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

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One step closer for Cresswell housing

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

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

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

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

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The leaning lamp-post

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

Was it put in like this?

It’s all a bit mysterious.

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Quiet Jubilee

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

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

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

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

That puts things in perspective…!

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Welcome back, Gandhi

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

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

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

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

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NEWS of: new Tory leader / village gathering / Hunter back! / railings destroyed

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in early May 2022
In this post we have news of…: annual village meeting this month / our new leader / Hunter pub re-opens / roadside railings knocked over – again…

There are also lots of events in our area this next few weeks! For news of a fund-raising event in Cresswell and some Queen’s Jubilee dances and many more, please go to our What’s On page

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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Getting your voice heard

One of the real bugbears in any council meeting is that the public has to stay silent, and do nothing but listen to the councillors talking. However, the opposite will be true at the Draycott-in-the-Moors Annual Village Assembly, which this year takes place on Monday May 23rd at 7.30, at the Church Hall. This is the chance for the people of Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow to do the talking for a change.

The procedure is pretty straightforward. A chairperson is appointed (to keep things fair, and make it all official), and then there are usually a couple of very short talks. But then it’s straight into the subjects for discussion (these have been suggested for the agenda by members of the public).
Each discussion takes around ten minutes, a resolution is made, and then it’s on to the next subject. Anyone can have a say; and the whole village is welcome to attend and speak.

All across the country, annual village meetings are being held at this time of year

We understand that some villagers have already put forward subjects for debate, including a motion to create a heritage committee for the village, and better speeding signage, among other matters.

But what’s the point? Good question! Well, the resolutions are registered, and then passed on to our political representatives, who are legally bound to debate them and consider acting on them. (See: What’s An Annual Assembly?)

So… now it’s time to get your suggestions in. What matter would you like discussed? Try to be specific: better than saying “a tidier village”, you might be best saying “a tidier village, with permanent signage up to ask people to take litter home” etc.
You need to email your suggestions to Denise Wheat, the clerk and minutes-taker, and she will add them to the official agenda. Try to get suggestions in by May 16th.

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New Tory leader (no… not that one…!)

You may not have realised it but we have a ‘Leader’ in this Staffordshire Moorlands area of ours. The majority political group on our Moorlands Council, which has been the Tories for many years, choose the Leader; so, for fifteen years, their choice, Cllr Sybil Ralphs, has been our Leader.

mark deaville
Will he be deputy leader?

Well, now the Conservative group has rebelled, and chucked her out. Instead they’ve elected Paul Roberts, who serves as a councillor in Caverswall, to be our new Leader.
The big question (for us) is: will our local lad, Totmonslow man Councillor Mark Deaville (see pic right), be chosen by Mr Roberts to be Deputy Leader of the Staffordshire Moorlands?
Interesting times…

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The Hunter returns

Welcome back to the Hunter Pub! This Cresswell local closed down last autumn and we thought it had gone forever, like so many country pubs – but it re-opened a few weeks ago.

Sunset at the Hunter pub, Cresswell
A spectacular sunset behind the Hunter pub

Many of us will know Daz, who has worked in many pubs, including The Greyhound at Saverley Green (which shut earlier this year sadly) – he’s the guy behind its revival. He’s promising the pub will be open every day (from 4pm on weekdays, from noon on weekends).
Daz also has ambitions for the pub: there will be a real commitment to guest beers (the one on when we went in was Admiral Gardner First Lord by the Uttoxeter Brewing Company) and he says he’s building a proper beer garden at the back. Keep checking the pub’s twitter account for which guest beers are on tap.
In an era of pub closures, it’s great to see an unashamedly old-fashioned local like The Hunter open again.
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Railings… derailed

One feature of a recent village council meeting was to see the look of complete disbelief on Councillor Roger Holdcroft’s face when he reported that the railings opposite the Draycott Arms on Cheadle Road had been bashed in… again!
For five years, Roger has been repeatedly asking for the railings to be repaired after they’d been previously knocked down (by an unknown vehicle). Finally, at last, they were repaired, but – within weeks! – banged into again, and knocked over, by an unknown vehicle.

This matters, because the railings guard the only pavement on that stretch, as well as (supposedly) stopping vehicles accidentally tipping into the ditch on the other side of it.

But then, Cheadle Road itself is a problem anyway. It’s really a rural back-road nowadays (though often used as a rat-run), and it is no fun to negotiate, with a couple of really narrow, winding stretches and blind turns. Crazy motorists like to make up time by speeding along the open stretches.
However, since sat-navs started to direct heavy goods vehicles up there, it’s gotten even more problematic… and that’s why railings get knocked down.

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News: festival success / Covid volunteers / home holidays / local artwork

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid December 2021
In this post we have news of…: Covid volunteer groups are fully back / Xmas Tree fest a success / a Draycott staycation! / a ‘brilliant’ artwork

For news of an appearance by Abbarella (!), a pantomime, and Xmas dances and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Volunteers on standby

As we’ve been reporting, it looks like Covid is properly back. Sigh.
At the moment, we in the Staffordshire Moorlands are only slightly affected; it’s London that is feeling the big effect of the ‘Omicron variant’. Still, what happens in London will affect us, sooner or later.

The good news is that the organisations happy to support those individuals who feel isolated or just worried are back in full force. The volunteers of the Draycott Covid Group are back to full readiness, and the Blythe Library-Centre Phone Buddies are also standing by.
A new group (well, new to us anyway) has also been putting up posters saying they can help. The Revival group will do welfare checks on adults aged 55-plus, the disabled and unpaid carers. They are funded by the NHS North Staffs CCG.

If you feel worried or upset about the present situation, or plain isolated, don’t hesitate to call them – that’s what they are there for.

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Powerful trees

The 2021 Draycott Christmas Tree Festival weekend, at St Margaret’s Church, attracted a surprisingly large number of visitors, which was lovely to see, and was quite a success.
For those who didn’t get a chance to get along, the good news is that the trees are staying up until Twelfth Night (January 7th) and can be seen during church normal opening hours.

The best time to see them is probably at the Draycott Christmas Carol service, which takes place on Sunday 19th Dec at 6.30. All are welcome, and the old church will look very festive for the occasion.

The trees themselves at the festival were all decorated and donated by local community organisations and families.

It has to be said that the most emotional tree was one that was contributed by Jane Meller, and was a tribute to the NHS (see photo right). Jane has worked her socks off for the NHS during the present pandemic.
The tree and its theme reminded you what it’s all about. Very powerful.

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A proper staycation!

A lot of us have been thinking twice about holidays (again!), so here’s an idea: why not go on holiday in Draycott?
Believe it or not, there are some beautiful wooden chalets, set in their own peaceful woodland estate, right here in this district. Perfect for a good relax.

Greenvale Barn

Yes, you can hire the ‘Greenvale Barn’ (sleeps 2 adults & 2 kids), among others, yet travel less than a mile!
The barns are set in Huntley Wood (up at Draycott Cross), where the owners converted the old quarry into woodland adventure area some years ago – and they have now extended into holiday lets, with nature all around.
It looks magical.

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Lighting up time for artwork

Finally, you may have read about the installation of a new artwork at our local library centre in Blythe Bridge. The lamp-shades (thirty three in all) were all made by local community crafts groups, who painstakingly created, and sewed together, hundreds of panels to make the shades. Each panel tells a local story; one panel even tells the story of the old Colours factory in Cresswell.
Read the full report here.

If you want to see it in person yourself, the last chance this year is on Tuesday (21st), which is the last day the library is open before the Xmas holiday.
But it will still be up for a long time, so no need to rush along.

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Festive wishes

And talking of the season…. A merry (and safe) Christmas and Happy New Year to us all !!! Let’s hope 2022 is a little better than 2021…

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

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NEWS: milestone / DCAT / houses for sale / outdoor spinning

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-March 2021
In this post we have news of…: listed milestone repaired / new local action group / outdoor gym! / speciality houses for sale.

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

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Heritage monument repair

It’s not always realised, but a lot of those old cast-iron mileposts you see around the Moorlands are actually ‘listed’ monuments. The parish of Draycott-in-the-Moors has a dozen certified heritage structures, and the milepost opposite the entry to Breach Lane in Totomonslow is one of them.
Which is why it was a matter of concern to see it falling to one side.

Totmonslow milestone in 2020

This particular milepost has been in place for 200 years, so maybe it was not surprising that it was starting to totter. It is on the side of a bank too, so it’s possible the heavy rains of this last winter were making the ground under it very soft.

Totmonslow milepost 2021

A conscientious resident reported the issue to the clerk of the village council, who passed the matter on to the heritage department of the county council. You might not believe this – but the repairs were completed less than a month later! Now all is well again. So, for once, the system worked, and it worked very well.

(Just a little footnote: the parish has three milestones altogether, the others being on Cresswell Lane and on the Hilderstone road. Strangely, only the Totmonslow one is deemed to be of heritage importance. No one is sure why).

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New action group

Things have been very tough over the last twelve months, as we all know, but at least the year 2021 is a chance for new beginnings. Cross fingers.

Here in Draycott, spring has brought not just daffodils but the new DCAT (Draycott, Cresswell And Totmonslow) Community Action Group. A trio of active local people (who already manage the village Facebook group) – Lee Warburton, Louise Parks & Bev Reardon – have started the ball rolling.
The idea is to make a concentrated effort to gather the views & ideas of residents, and drive those ideas forward. The next step is formalise how this DCAT group will work. Watch this space!

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Get spinning

As we all know, the first step back to normality (we hope) comes soon, on March 29th, when some Covid rules will be relaxed (though only a few, admittedly).
One organisation that has thought this through is the Draycott Sports & Fitness Centre, where some activities are set to return.

One activity that they have announced is one that has never been tried before – outdoor spinning! Yes, the static bikes used for spinning will be hauled outside, and participants will do what they do out in the fresh air. That makes the whole thing Covid-permissible.
So, if all those hundreds of Peloton adverts on the TV have inspired you, but you don’t have a bike of your own, then here’s your chance to have a go!

First session is on 31st March – but do book early. Bikes are limited. /

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Got half-a-million to spare?

A couple of houses have come up for sale in the district, and both offer quite a lot of privacy (if you like that sort of thing).
The Old Cart Shed, as it’s called (see pic below), is one of the results of the renovations at old Totmonslow Farm, where the old barns were marked for demolition a couple of years ago. And (you guessed it), this new house is on the site of the old structures.
It’s a classy new-build with field-views, definitely not your standard red-brick. Trouble is: your pockets will need to be deep, as it is on the market for over £500,000.

At the other end of the district, at Blythe Vale, hidden away up Woodlands Lane, you’ll find a bungalow for £300,000. (For an extra £50,000, they’ll throw in a plot of empty land too). It’s next to one of the service entries to the new Blythe Fields Estate, so you could probably use the facilities on the estate (playgrounds etc) if you wanted to.


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

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

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Seventy-five sounds for VJ Day

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

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

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

Painted frame in St Margaret bell-chamber

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

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

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

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Down the mine

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

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

Railway Tunnel - Draycott End

Cheadle to Cresswell Railway tunnel – Draycott end

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

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

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More building to come

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

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

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

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

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Quick Quick … back!

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

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

QQS Studios

The QQS dance-floor in happier times

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

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

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

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS of: planning surrender / Izaak Walton / speeding figures

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late February 2020
In this post we have news of…: speeding danger in Draycott / affordable homes for us? not now / Cresswell loses its pub / flood-zones … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

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Councillors do … nothing

The latest news about the Blythe Fields housing development (up by the A50 roundabout) makes us want to just weep.
As you may know, developers first applied to Staffordshire Moorlands Council for permission to build 118 homes on the site (in 2018); then they said they’d like to squeeze in a few more into the space – making it 146 homes on the site; then, this month, they applied to demand that the agreed quota on the site for ‘affordable homes’ (33%) be dropped, from 48 homes to… just eight!!!

St Modwen Blythe Fields estate brochure cover

Blythe Fields estate brochure – cover

It sounded like the developers (St Modwen Homes) were simply leading the council by the nose – and so surely the council’s planning committee would turn round and refuse this latest bit of elbow-twisting?
But, no, the councillors on the planning committee caved in like a pack of cards and surrendered. They shrugged their shoulders and virtually said –‘what can we do?’ (See the planning application; and also see webcast of the committee discussion by clicking here).

This is bizarre because the 33% affordable-homes target on estates is one set by SMDC themselves! – as a way of ensuring that housing estates include a proportion of homes for those struggling to get on the housing ladder, especially the sons and daughters of locals living in the district.
One little hopeful light was that at least one of our Checkley & Draycott Ward councillors, Pete Wilkinson, did speak up to express his concerns and vote against the move. Well done Pete.

But, of course, the fact is that mostly nobody really cares.
There was a lot of annoyed discussion about this matter on the village facebook page, but if you then look up the official planning comments page, only one resident actually went as far as to register an objection.

As for our Draycott village council, it will surprise no one to learn that (once again…) they couldn’t be bothered to put in a comment on this issue at all.
(Frankly, it seems a bit of a waste of time that we Draycott residents contribute £10,000 of our money every year to this lot if they can’t even be bothered to register comments on important matters like this).

No wonder big developers get their own way whenever they want – and in Draycott they probably will continue to do so.

On 7th March, the showhomes on the estate will be open to the public – but less well-off members of the community will now find hardly anything there for them… Like we said, it just makes one want to weep.

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Will the flooding experience be ignored?

The latest lot of flooding, which saw record levels of water in some areas, will probably be forgotten quite soon by planners and politicians. Only the victims will still rue the day. Sadly.
Yet, as the Met Office reports, February 2020 set a new UK record for February rainfall going back 150 years. Parts of Staffordshire saw more than three times their usual rainfall!

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

By coincidence, the Draycott & Cresswell community action group published an article about the local flood-zone a few weeks ago, saying that the risk of extra flooding these days surely now means that the extra industrial development on the Blythe Business Park in Cresswell should be reassessed.
A lot of the planned Blythe Park development is in an official ‘flood-zone’.

Even Boris Johnson might have his doubts. Three months ago, when he was on the campaign trail, he said: “We’ve got to stop building on areas which are vulnerable to flooding.”. (See full article).
We wonder what he would think of the Cresswell plans?

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Draycott – speeding hotspot

New figures for the amount of motorists under prosecution for busting speed limits indicate that Draycott Level is a fairly dangerous place.
Over the last two years, thanks to mobile speed cameras, police have evidence against 179 motorists speeding along here. This makes it the fifth worst in the whole Staffordshire Moorlands.
The trouble is that Draycott Level/Uttoxeter Road is a, long straight, wide stretch and motorists just seem to think it’s a free-for-all.

The county Highways Department are at least now changing the limit on the dual carriageway (i.e. from the A50 roundabout to Chandni Cottage) from 60mph down to 40mph – which means the whole of Uttoxeter Road through the village will now officially be all a 40mph speed limit. This will be a help.
Staffs County has also given £5000 to Draycott for road-safety measures. The village council has decided that should be used on two electronic speed-warning signs, but after nearly a year on the project by them the signs have not yet appeared.
(And, despite residents’ continual complaining, the council’s effort to set up a ‘speed-watch’ team of them came to nothing).

Will Draycott drop down the speeding-hotspots league table when it’s published next time? It will be a close thing…
Cross fingers anyway.

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Goodnight Izaak

The new owner of the Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell is wasting no time in fixing it up for its new existence (see pic below).Izaak Walton renovation, Feb 2020The Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee recently approved an application for ‘change of use’ for the Izaak from community asset (i.e. a pub) to a residential home.
(Incidentally, our Draycott & Cresswell village council supported this idea of losing the pub, and actually made an official comment to say just that).

We predicted that this change-of-use would happen, because a series of very good managers struggled and failed to keep it going: all of them said that the brewing company that owned the pub up until last year was simply charging unfeasibly high rents.
So it was almost inevitable it would go dark and, as ‘a failed business’ achieve its change of use approval.
Oh well.
Does anyone care?

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: funeral / MP’s absence / cricket blues / sausages!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2019
In this post we have news of…: Bessie Hammond’s funeral date / Blythe Cricket team need you! / sausage festival success / where is our MP?
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including Draycott’s Macmillan Coffee Morning …  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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Betty’s farewell

One of this village’s biggest community gatherings for years takes place tomorrow (Thurs 12 Sept) when the funeral service for the legendary Bessie (Betty) Hammond takes place. The little church of St Margaret’s will be packed to the gills, not just with friends and relatives, but also those who respected her for her work as a village councillor and unofficial ‘aunt’ to the locality.
There may even be in the church some of those she helped bring into the world; in the days when the health services are not what they are now, she acted as an unofficial midwife, ready to help young neighbours giving birth at home.

Many people, especially those who have moved away, may not be able to get to the service, so the family have set up a tribute page on the internet. If you want to express your feelings, simply click on Keates Notices and leave your message as many already have done.
If you prefer the old-fashioned way, i.e. by post, address your cards to 10 Rookery Crescent Cresswell.

Talking of legends who have now left us, we also have the sad news that Graham Yates recently passed away. Graham ran the Izaak Walton Inn  in Cresswell for over a decade during the 1980s & 1990s, and you might well say that this was a high point for the pub.
Graham would no doubt have been distressed at the pub’s present moribund state and uncertain future.

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Brexit blues

We all admit that the Brexit is the most pressing matter for our country at the moment, but … it does mean that some MPs are working on little else, and so are spending little time on constituency work, let alone other important matters like climate change.

Sir Bill CashIf you follow the activities of our local MP Sir Bill Cash (pic right) through sites like They Work For You, you’ll see that a massive proportion of his speeches are about Brexit, with a few about HS2. And in fact, the number of visits he has made to this constituency for his MP surgeries has fallen to a new low – just five for the year so far… We have not seen him in Draycott itself since 2014.

Sir Bill has even suspended his www.billcashmp.co.uk website (despite it still being advertised on his Parliament page) which was supposed to reflect local issues.
However, Bill is going hammer & tongs on his Twitter account – about virtually nothing but Brexit though.

Compare this failing to the impressive local campaigns web effort made by Jack Brereton MP in next-door Meir.  Compare it too to the tireless local work from the Leek MP Karen Bradley ( whose recent speeches in Parliament have been about Leek Hospital).
Both Karen and Jack are, like Bill, Conservatives.

Draycott & Blythe Bridge (Sir Bill’s constituency covers both) have been facing huge challenges in the last few years and – we would say – it’s time for Sir Bill to get a bit more local. Other MPs (like Karen & Jack) have tried better to balance their issues workload between local and national affairs, even at this crucial time, and maybe Sir Bill needs to do the same.
For example, he would be very welcome at the Checkley-Draycott-Forsbrook Master Plan Forum later this month!

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Despair – joy – despair again

As we reported last month, Blythe Cricket Club’s season took a sudden turn for the worse in July when the First XI crashed to bottom place in the NSSCL Premier Division. All looked over for the Cresswell-based team.

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

However, miracles do happen. Just two weeks ago, Blythe amazingly beat high-flying Meakins, and followed that up by also thumping Whitmore. It looked like the impressive Khan ‘twins’ had regained their form and Alex Heslop was hitting the runs again.
… only to slump again with a resounding defeat to derby-rivals Checkley.

With only two matches to go, it looks like the last game of the season, on Sat September 21st, at the club’s Cresswell ground, could be do-or-die. If you can turn out to cheer the team on, then, you never know, the club may just be able to avoid the drop and stay in the Premier League another season.
See you at the pavilion!

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So scrumptious, that…

Finally, we like this photograph, which was sent in by one of our readers. It shows (part of) the ‘Seven-Incher’ speciality-dish served up at the Draycott Arms Sausage Festival last month.Draycott Arms Sausage Festival 2019The Seven-Incher is a taster dish, providing an example of each of the seven exclusive sausages made especially for the festival.
So why are there only three examples in this photograph? “Sorry” says our correspondent, “but I couldn’t wait: it all looked too delicious! By the time my companion had got the camera out, I’ll admit I’d just had to get started… which is why only three are left!

Music at Draycott Arms Sausage & Cider Festival 2019

As well as sausages, there was music. Spot the two ladies joining in the fun – by ‘playing’ toy guitars!

And no wonder the sausages are so delicious. Zara, the chef, takes freshly-killed meat, and makes her own exclusive concoctions for the festival, which, this year, included an astonishingly good version of the South African ‘Boerewors’ (one for Brayn, no doubt!).
The Arms really is becoming the leading gastro-pub for miles around. We suggest you eat there now – before it becomes impossible to get a table…

***
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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: Cricket’s loss / Cross accident / Arms alterations / Responders’ decade

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2019
In this post we have news of…: death of cricket club stalwart / three vehicle pile-up / temporary hours at the Arms / gathering for local life-savers … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a one-man show about WW2…  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

_ _ _
RIP Colin

Many of us were sad to hear that ‘Mr Blythe Cricket’, Colin Dawson, had passed away at the end of last month. Starting off as a player and ending as club president, Colin served Blythe Cricket Club over some sixty years.
He will be remembered a lot for spearheading the campaign to raise half-a-million pounds to replace ageing facilities at the club’s ground in Cresswell.

Blythe CC presentation

In earlier days: Colin (in cap) accepting a donation for the club

Understandably, members at the club have been saddened by the news; and tributes have been pouring in. At Colin’s funeral, the traditional salute, of cricket bats held aloft, was observed as the coffin passed by.

In his honour, the friendly match which opens every season at the club has been renamed – as the Colin Dawson Trophy Match –, and will be held this year on April 20th. Following the game, a plaque will be placed on the new pavilion remembering him.

He will be missed.

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Accident at Draycott Cross

The Midlands Air Ambulance had to be called into action last Wednesday (17th) after an accident locally, which involved a van, a lorry and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was flown to hospital.
Amazingly, despite the immediate injuries and the state the vehicles were left in, no one was seriously hurt.

Accident scene (image from Staffordshire Police)

The accident took place on Cheadle Road at Draycott Cross, by the turn off to Huntley Wood.
It’s an open stretch of road on what is otherwise a narrow lane, so it is a place where motorists tend to speed up. However… the cause of the pile-up has not yet been identified.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident 326 of April 17.

_ _ _
Light eats at Arms (for a month)

The long planned-for alterations at the Draycott Arms are now under way and should see the current pub morph into a gastro-pub plus bed & breakfast by the beginning of June.
Obviously, the builders will need a free hand, so – only for a while folks! – the full menu at the Arms is being suspended while the kitchen is affected… but snacks will still be available.
(The bar is unaffected… so, carry on drinking…. phew!)

Draycott ArmsAs a consequence … new hours will apply during the alterations, which are: evenings only (from 5pm) during the week; Saturdays noon to late; and Sundays, afternoons only, i.e. 3pm-6pm.

However, as is the way with building stuff, things can change – so keep an eye on the Arms’ website for updates.

_ _ _
Ten (and more) years of responding

If ever (God forbid) you find yourself suddenly seriously ill at home, the likelihood is that it will not be an ambulance first on the scene to you, but a ‘community first responder’.  These are voluntary, local, trained-up people who are on stand-by to help in the first ten minutes of a 999 call, while the ambulance is making its way.
They are, quite simply, potential life-savers.

Our local group, the ‘Fulford & District CFR’ turned ten years old last year, and is having a belated gathering next month – to which we are all invited.
During the course of the event, there will also be a session on how members of the public can use a defibrillator, which, again, can be life-saving. (There is a public defibrillator in the Cresswell kiosk, though there is none in Draycott yet).

These guys do a terrific job, and need our support. The event takes place on at Fulford Village Hall (about two miles from Cresswell) on May 9th.  (STOP PRESS: the event has now been postponed to June)

***
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

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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: Fatality / planning revisions / handyperson wanted / 5* restaurant

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid Jan 2019
In this post we have news of…:  another death on Draycott Level / planning changes at Blythe Vale and Blythe Park / apply to be our lengthsman / Golden Keg’s achievement …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & 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

_ _ _
Fatality on Draycott Level

It’s sad to have to report another road accident death on Draycott Level – it’s the third in the last six months.
Last Friday afternoon, Martin Barker was travelling home on his motor-bike when there was a collision with an Audi car just outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant. Martin, who is only 50, died of his injuries the next day. He will be sadly missed.
The people in the car were uninjured.
If you saw, or know, anything, of this incident please contact the police on 101, quoting incident 474 of January 11.

We won’t know the cause of the accident until the inquest is held in a few weeks’ time, but already there are calls to make that stretch of road safer. (It’s a 40mph limit through Draycott until you get to the dual carriageway, when it suddenly becomes 60).

So it’s timely that Staffordshire County Council has just granted £5000 (from its Safer Roads project) to this district; and Draycott Council is in charge of organising the spend.

Speed indication device at draycottAt the moment, our councillors want to use the money to buy at least one permanent SID (SIDs are those electronic signs which flash up your speed as you pass it – see pic) – but it’s not clear how useful a SID will be. After all, we already have lots of speed-limit signs on that stretch now, and the drivers ignore them!
Do you have alternative thoughts about how to spend the money? If you do, email the council or turn up to the next meeting, on February 11th.

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Another year, another planning application

It seems unbelievable, but when we just thought the dust would settle, slightly, up pops more hefty sets of documents to have to wade through.

In the latest twist to the Blythe Vale project, St Modwen Homes now want to revise their proposals. Instead of the 118 homes they already have approval to build, they now want a revised application – for 146 homes, i.e. to squeeze in an extra 28 homes on the same site.

As this is such a flagship project for the Moorlands Council, the chances of any objections to it being successful are almost zero – but at least this is a chance to comment again on one problematic situation, the traffic issue: namely, the exit road off the estate coming out onto the dual carriageway, by Chandni Cottage.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the proposal means an awful lot of traffic at that point (the estate itself actually will have 270 parking spaces!)
So, the thing is: what provision is there for traffic & pedestrians to exit the estate and then cross the dual carriageway, in order to get onto the road opposite into Blythe Bridge?

Exit from blythe vale

Exit from Blythe Vale on to the dual carriageway (BB Roundabout to the left). The grey area is roads that St Modwen must now be responsible for; the oblong box is the hatched area; and the dog-leg shape by it going across the dual carriageway is… what?

However, St Modwen’s diagram doesn’t give us a clear answer: there is a hatched area (i.e. one where cars cannot be stationary) but the little dog-leg shape by it has us foxed. Is it for traffic lights? Maybe.
This question has been referred to Draycott Council, and, with luck, they will have an answer for all of us by their next meeting on Feb 11th.

+
Meanwhile, Cresswellians have their own bit of planning puzzlement.
As people from there will know, approval was only given for the expansion of the Blythe Business Park on condition that all the new commercial units were completed, and a completely new access road was built across the site (starting at the still-to-be-built Cresswell roundabout).
Well, the developers, MJ Barratt/Scentarea, don’t want to wait for that. They want to get the first of the units, the new Greenhouse People factory, viable as soon as possible – so they want permission to use the current access road into the site for now, and not have to build the new access road (and roundabout) just yet.
But some nearby residents are concerned about extra traffic from the new factory using the current access road, because this access road is very close to the railway crossing.
If you too have thoughts, you have until 27th March (this is a new, extended date to the original date) to comment. Click here to comment online.

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Five-star food!

One bit of good news (at last) is that a Draycott restaurant featured in the 2018 list of cleanest and best-run establishments in the county.

The Sentinel newspaper worked it all out, using Food Standards Agency data, and found out that the Golden Keg in Uttoxeter Road received a five-star food-hygiene rating last year.

Golden Keg staff had a stall at the 2018 Draycott Fayre

Congratulations to them!!

_ _ _
Fancy some casual outdoor work? For money?

As readers of this website will know, many residents have not been happy for some time that Draycott Council has not made more effort to keep the district up to the mark by ensuring necessary maintenance jobs are done.

For some unclear reason, for the last five years, the council has chosen not to use its so-called ‘lengthsman’ funds & grants to pay for a handyperson – i.e. someone to ensure the upkeep of clean pavements, see to collapsing signs, do minor hedge-cutting and so on.

Pavement encroachment, dec 18

This pavement near The Draycott Arms should be able to “accommodate a buggy”, but is so overgrown that that would be impossibe. It needs clearing.

(As one cynic pointed out, it might have helped if they had actually advertised that the post was available…)

Anyway, at last, they are advertising it. Hurrah. See advert.
If you fancy putting in a few hours now and again, the council wants you.
You will have to drop them a line stating why you think you could do the job and what remuneration (per hour) you would like.
But they want to appoint someone quite quickly, so don’t hang about if you are interested.

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about 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

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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)