Category Archives: news

Speed signs in place

One success in what was otherwise a distinctly under-achieving year for Draycott’s village council has been the installation by it in the district of two SIDs/Speed Indication Devices, (also known as VAS / Vehicle Activation Signs), i.e. speed signs.
The first sign can be found at the west end of the village where cars come off the dual carriageway on to Draycott Level; and the second is between the Draycott Arms and the churchyard.

SID at west end of Draycott, with solar panel

As anyone who has driven past them will know, they flash up the speed your car is going at: 35mph-40mph flashes green, anything over that flashes red. The speed limit through Draycott and through Cresswell is 40mph.

Any use?
It has been difficult to prove just how useful SIDs actually are.

Cameras – best deterrent

In some areas, the data reveals that motorists do drop their excessive speeds – which is good -, but continue to break the actual speed limit anyway – which is bad. And, human nature being what it is, regular motorists just start to ignore them over time.
So, the SIDs are no substitute for local authority or police speed cameras.

However, speeding is one of the issues that bothers Draycott’s residents the most, according to council correspondence, so at least something is being done by the village council to address electors’ concerns.

Hard work
This whole project has been ongoing for two, very difficult years. Indeed, you have to feel sorry for the council’s administrator (the main paid member of the village council’s staff) who has had to sort the whole business out.
It’s been difficult because: you can’t just put the poles where you’d like best; you can’t dig the holes for them without filling in proper permission forms; you have to get land-owner permissions; you can’t load them on other structures; you have to consult with nearby householders; you have to deal with the different demands set by the councillors; you have to get approval from Highways… etc etc. No one envied her the job of sorting this one out – and congratulations to her for persevering!
One less headache though is the fact that no electricity supply is needed; they are powered by the solar-panel attached to the pole.

Cost?
The SIDs (made by Unipart Dorman) have cost the council nothing.
Although the total price – all in – came to some £8,000 for the two, most of it (£5000) came from The Staffordshire County Road Safety Grant, the rest from the Draycott District Community Fund (the ‘SA Fund’).
In fact, Draycott’s SIDs are the basic unit, cheaper than those in other villages because they do not have any ‘extras’ (such as a flashing ‘SLOW DOWN’ message).

The councillors are pleased by the project, so they are now considering installing two other SIDs, one possibly on Cheadle Road.

Worth the trouble?
The jury is out on whether the signs actually change motorist behaviour much.
So, to properly find that out we’d need to get and analyse data collected by the SIDs. That data would help with getting a picture of local speeding patterns and would tell us whether local speeding really is a problem, or just an impression.
(The way it works is pretty straightforward: the SIDs contain an internal recording unit, which stores all the speeds it registers, and the SID’s owner can then download the data in order to get a picture of local speeding patterns. In case you were wondering, there is no camera inside the SID, so no number-plates can be recorded).
But…. – quite surprisingly – the councillors did not choose to request data-collection. It’s not clear why not.

Another factor is that a large roundabout on Draycott Level is due to be built on the crossroads at Church Lane-Uttoxeter Road-Cresswell Lane. Traffic approaching that will have to slow down obviously anyway (and be subject to a new 30mph limit for 200 yards anyway) so the SID near the churchyard will be virtually redundant when that’s built. (Though, admittedly, it could then just be moved).

But there’s no doubt that the SID at the west end of the village is a bonus. Traffic coming off the A50 and on to the dual carriageway into Draycott has been hitting high speeds!
Admittedly, the speed limit on the dual carriageway stretch has recently been reduced from 60mph to 40mph, but many motorists were taking little notice. The SID may just (one hopes) remind them to slow down.
But… only time will tell.

Speed-kings
By the way, you may have wondered why the SIDs do not flash when a car is doing over 60mph – instead, it just goes blank. This is not a fault; it’s deliberate.
Psychologists have worked out that some boy-racers enjoy the ‘thrill’ of seeing themselves clocked at high speeds – so the SIDs cut out, rather than encourage them. People (especially boy-racers) are strange, huh?

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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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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.
(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: RIP Bessie / listed building clean-up / Blythe Park latest

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2019
In this post we have news of…: Bessie Hammond dies at 106 / Blythe Park latest / listed building gets facelift… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including the Annual Flower, Veg & Home-Produce Show…  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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End of an era

The news of Bessie (Betty) Hammond’s death is truly saddening.
She was not only instrumental in making this village (Draycott & Cresswell) what it is (see Betty’s Life-Story), but she was a genuinely good person, and both as cheerful and as energetic as possibele.

Bessie HammondThere have already been a lot of condolences expressed on the village Facebook page; and we have no doubt that her funeral will be attended by many many people.
Her last days were spent in the comfort of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

Bessie was also Staffordshire’s oldest living person, having celebrated her 106th birthday only a few months ago. Even on that day, despite knowing she had cancer, she made the effort to get out to a family celebration.
Its astonishing to think that when Bessie was born, in 1913, motor cars had only just started appearing on our roads and Queen Victoria had only died a decade before.

She will be missed.

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Blythe Park latest

Well done to Draycott Council for holding an emergency meeting last week to discuss the latest notice about the Blythe Park development in Cresswell.

In fact, as it turned out, the latest move doesn’t add up to anything much, being just a repetition/summary of an application made back in January: the developers, Scentarea, want permission to hold off for a while from doing the road-infrastructure changes they had promised originally.
Back at the beginning of the year, Draycott Council put in an objection to this idea, and on the website of the local action group VVSM, there was a strong piece explaining their opposition too.

But, if you too have comments to make on what the developers are up to, you still can – you have until September 6th – click here.
Draycott Council are also looking for anybody with strong opinions on the matter to speak at the Planning Committee meeting, on September 19th in Leek. If you’re interested, contact the council clerk.

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Listed ‘building’ clean-up

It’s not well known but Draycott-in-the-Moors has a few listed buildings – and two of them are tombs!
Caring for such heritage objects is of course a tricky job, so it’s no surprise that even the task of removing ivy from one of them has to go through a whole process of permissions.

Anyway, it seems like the Hyatt Memorial Tomb (Grade 2 listed) in St Margaret’s Church graveyard (see pic below) is about to get such permission; and then the ivy will be cut away and the worst of the crumbling mortar will be re-pointed.Hyatt Memorial Tomb with ivyThe Hyatts were a well known local family in the early nineteenth century and farmed at High Fields (up on the road to Cheadle). This was their family tomb and five family members are buried there.

After this work, the Hyatts inside the tomb should be safe for a few years to come.

***
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)

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: action-man John / buses future / Arms expansion / new council clerk / race trial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Volunteer of The Year / buses survey / b&b business coming? / welcome to Denise / race case shame …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  live-music from local lad Matty Edwards…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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John’s busy time

John ClarkeA big thank you to everyone who voted for Draycott’s own John Clarke (right) in the Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Awards.  The result was announced at a special ceremony in Leek and our John came an honourable joint second. It’s all based on a public vote, so second is a very good result for someone from a small village such as ours.
As John said, it’s a time of great flux for our neighbourhood, so anything that gets a positive headline for Draycott has got to be a good thing.

Right now though John is hugely busy putting the finishing touches to the preparations for this year’s Draycott Fayre Weekend (on July 7th & 8th). He is chief organiser (and bottle washer!) for the fayre.
Plenty of late bookings are still being arranged, with the most fascinating one being the promise of the sight of a reconstructed World War One trench dug-out (see below)!

WW1 dug out re-construction
It’s being created by the secretary of the local history society; and for anyone interested in the conflict of the 1914-18 War it will be a big draw.

Do keep checking the updates to the line-up, because – as we say – lots and lots of stuff keeps being added on… and you won’t want to miss out on anything…

One thing you can do to help is put up the official poster in your window or business – just click here to access the 2018 FAYRE Poster , and then just print it off and put it where you think people will see it. Cheers!!

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Buses survey

As we reported last month, there was a brief glimmer of hope that the number 12 bus route, which runs through Draycott & Cresswell, might be restored after it was cancelled in March. However even that small hope has now been dashed, as the county council has now definitively refused to continue the subsidy for it.

Some Staffordshire local/parish councils have stepped into the breach and stumped up money to keep their village bus services running, but it’s an expensive option. The other question is: how many people would use the bus even if it was brought back?

The district’s local newspaper, the Cheadle & Tean Times, is now running a survey on the issue, basically asking “would you use a bus service if there was one?” If it’s something that worries you, it’s worth completing the survey, which is on page six of the current issue.

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Arms expansion

While sifting among recent planning applications, we saw that Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms are continuing their plans for the pub by putting up proposals for a few bed-and-breakfast rooms.  It certainly would be great to have such accommodation in the heart of the village, as the nearest alternatives are just out of walking distance.

However, Zara & Brayn, just like John, might be a bit too busy over the next seven days to worry about that side of their business. Next weekend (Sat 7th July) they are the hosts of the Draycott Saturday Night Live In the Marquee event, when they will be putting on a mini beer & cider festival to accompany the live music on stage.

Hassell St Jive Candy

Hassell St Jive Candy are the headliners at Draycott Saturday Night Live

Looking forward to that!!

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Shame

Draycott hit the national headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when one local resident here in Draycott was convicted of inciting race hatred in views she expressed on her website.  Barbara Fielding-Morriss, who is 79 years old, describes herself as ‘white supremacist’, a despiser of Jews and a fascistic supporter of Hitler. She faces a possible seven years in prison when she is sentenced next month.
She chose not to have legal representation during the trial, which the judge was very surprised at.

Fortunately, it seems Barbara is almost a lone voice and has very few members in her ‘party’. But it does all leave a very bad taste in the mouth.

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The Draycott Council bit

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd things that we almost can’t keep up, so we have given the council its own little section)

After all the confusion and upset over the last couple of months, a new clerk to the council is finally in place.

The very popular former clerk felt compelled to resign in March saying she felt under-valued by councillors and harassed.
A confusing period followed, in which one new appointee came in and then absented herself, followed by a rather flawed advertising process, and – finally – a further appointment was made.

Amazingly, this rather messy performance has ended up with a good candidate.  Denise Wheat is well known in Tean (the next village along from us) for being a leading light in community projects there and is an established business-woman (she runs her own photography concern).

Denise is already taking courses in the responsibilities and functions expected of a clerk to a village council. Although clerks are not elected so they can’t make policy decisions, they are expected to ‘manage’ the council’s actions and procedures.

Denise has a difficult job on her hands, not just with guiding the current councillors, but in responding to the government’s calls that village/community councils be more active and more transparent. What’s more, there are elections to the council in less than twelve months!
Good luck to her.

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

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

NEWS: VVSM end / Anthony exhibits / best to Dave / trees success

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-December 2017
In this post we have news of…: VVSM action group disbands / Anthony Hammond exhibition / Dave Trigger’s operation / Xmas Tree fest goes well…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of carol-singing get-togethers!!..  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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VVSM no more

One bit of news that residents may not welcome, but will certainly be welcomed by all the developers who want a bit of Draycott, is that the local community-action group VVSM has decided to disband (see their announcement).
It seems like not enough people were coming forward to help keep the group running, and the weight of work was just too much for the few people left.

It’s a great shame, as VVSM can rightly claim much of the credit for the fact that, back in 2009, the developers who wanted to build a gas power station in Cresswell eventually withdraw their application.
The group went on to hire legal teams to fight the next big problem, the Blythe Park housing estate application, and managed to expose an awful lot of facts that had been kept hidden and even misreported, thus slowing down the progress of those plans.
They also contributed to the general life of the community, installing a defibrillator in Cresswell among other achievements.

However, as VVSM say in their latest post, it does seem as though everyone in the district, from householders to politicians, now just think that there is very little that can be done about development issues… and have given up. This may explain why no new members have come forward.

It may be something we regret though. The housing-estate at Blythe Vale has now been approved as well the one at Blythe Park, so the developers will now next be looking hungrily at Cresswell ridge (on the skyline above Uttoxeter Road) where outline planning permission for further development is already approved.
Without VVSM in place, those developers will certainly have a much easier ride.

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Fun with trees

Congratulations to Pauline & John Clarke, the organisers of the Draycott Christmas Tree Festival. Once again, they created an event that really did try to pull the local community together – and there really aren’t enough of such events in Draycott.

Among the groups that decorated, themed, and submitted trees were the Draycott Women’s Institute, the local cricket club, the bellringers group, Forsbrook School, the Draycott Brownies and more. Draycott Manor School did the event a compliment by putting in four trees!
The most thoughtful tree (we think) was the one from Forsbrook Primary, which was a Poet-Tree (geddit?) with poems written by the children hanging from the branches.

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However, as usual, it’s a shame that more groups, families and businesses did not take part.
Community spirit does seem to be declining in Draycott, especially compared to all the wonderful things happening in the villages surrounding us. What can be done to improve it?

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Anthony gets exhibited

It’ll soon be the kids’ holidays, so if you’re looking for a quick trip out, why not try Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum? There is lots of stuff for kids there.
But the reason we mention the museum particularly is because local man, Anthony Hammond, has an exhibition on there at the moment; it runs until January 8th.

Anthony Hammond soldier sculptureAnthony specialises in carving sculptures out of tree-trunks, which he does with a specially adapted electric saw. Many of us will have seen him doing his stuff at the Draycott Summer Fayre.
He was recently in the papers for a fantastic carving of a World War One soldier (see right), which you can also see at Newcastle.
Well worth a visit.

Incidentally lots of you ask after his grandmother, local-legend Betty Hammond. Apparently, she is doing well at the moment, even if she is less mobile than she was. This Christmas will be her 104th!

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Best wishes

One person who has been sadly absent from village activity for quite a while is Dave Trigger, one of the three councillors who represent this district on Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

Dave has a wealth of knowledge about local government and about engineering (his specialist subject) and he often brings a lot of common sense to the table whenever he has got along to a Draycott Council meeting in the past.

He has faced a major operation, which – everyone hopes – will go some way to getting him back on his feet.
If you still haven’t completed your Xmas card mail-out, you could add him to it…

***
Do you have news you’d like to see written up on this website? If so – just email us!

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

NEWS: car fireball / Blythe Vale go-ahead / footpaths concern / baby ballet!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid- November 2017
In this post we have news of…: car in explosion at Draycott Cross / approval for 118 new homes / footpaths consultation / ballet for babies…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including Remembrance Sunday events. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Car in fireball

Details are slowly emerging of the weekend’s horrific car-crash at Draycott Cross.
On Friday evening, two cars collided near to Field’s Farm on Cheadle Road (half a mile up from the Draycott Arms) and, minutes later, one of them started into flames.
Fortunately some other, very courageous motorists at the scene managed to drag the young woman who was driving the car out of the vehicle … but only moments before a sudden fireball explosion.
The young woman, who has not been named yet, has severe injuries to her legs and is being treated in hospital.

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A local well-known couple, Karen & Tony Buckle, were in the other car – luckily, the pair were not injured.  In fact, Tony was one of the brave rescuers who – probably – saved the young women’s life.
A full account of the incident is on the front page of The Stunner newspaper, including a dramatic photograph of the blazing car.

What’s not clear is how the accident occurred.  Although the incident took place not far from a bend, in the darkness of night-time, yet it is a clear stretch of road just there.  Modern cars rarely burst into flame, so the police are also looking into why that happened.

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Disappointment – with result, with council

Many local residents are expressing their disappointment at the result of last week’s SMDC Planning Committee decision over the Blythe Vale housing estate application.  The developers, St Modwen, got the go-ahead they were looking for (with just one vote against), so we can expect work on building the 100+ homes (behind the Chandni Cottage restaurant) to start sometime next year.
It was always going to be a tough proposal to fight, as it had the full recommendation of local planners and is part of a national scheme – both of which facts mean that it would have taken a strong team-effort to have seen it overturned.

However, there is also great disappointment about the role of Draycott parish councillors – who did almost nothing to oppose the application, even though they claimed to be fully supporting the local residents who feared it.
Not only did our own council not even put in a formal comment on the planning-application website (even though distant Checkley Council did!), none of them even turned up to speak against the application at the decision meeting  … A spokesperson later claimed that all seven councillors had busy lives, implying that this made it too hard for even one of them to get there.

The residents of this district have a right to wonder if these people should even be on the council, if their ‘busy lives’ make it too difficult for them to make some effort over what is the biggest thing to happen to Draycott for the past 25 years.  We shall see: elections are due in 2019.

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Footpath maintenance under threat

Draycott & Cresswell are fortunate in having an extensive network of miles of public footpaths.
If one uses local footpaths regularly, the science says you’ll be healthier, happier and more at peace with yourself – great for thinking-time!
However, budget cuts mean that maintenance of our paths network is declining.Footpath fingerpost at CresswellUndergrowth is nearly choking this stile at Cresswell

Staffs County Council, which is responsible for local footpath maintenance, recognises that this problem has now turned into a major issue, and has started a public consultation to see what we all think about the current state of our footpaths & bridleways – and their future. However the county’s proposals are already causing concern; the Staffordshire Area Ramblers has filed comments already, not all favourable.
If you want to take part in the consultation yourself, click here  – you have until December 25th to put in your thoughts.
We wrote up a recent article on our local footpaths – it might give you a few ideas to go on with.

The local Draycott parish council has a special responsibility for monitoring foortpaths in our district; let’s see what response they make.

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Babies get balletic

Finally, this is a sentence we never thought we’d write: “baby ballet is coming to Draycott”…     But, no, not a performance by a troupe of six-month old prima ballerinas, but … some lessons for them!

We are not exactly sure what ‘b-b’ is but babies apparently get quite a kick (or a pirouette?) out of the classes.  Children up to six years can take part.
The classes get under way in January at Draycott Sports Centre.
So, we look forward to a fully staged performance by the pupils in twenty years time!

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

Election for us in Draycott area

It is now clear that we will have a by-election of some sort here in Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow for the empty seat on the local area parish council.

The notice of election will be made public on March 2nd, which is when nominations will also start to be accepted.

What has happened is that, in the past fortnight, enough residents in this district have called for a democratic process – rather than leaving it to the council to choose among themselves who should fill the vacancy (which is what would have happened otherwise).
The vacancy was caused by the resignation of councillor Jacquie Leach last month.

We have already  been told that one person (the person who organised the election petition) is definitely going to put his name forward for the seat.

Headache

So far, so good, for democracy.

However, the sting in the tail is that by-elections are very expensive.
A by-election would have to be held, by law, if more than one person decides to stand.
Draycott Council has to foot the bill for any of its elections, and the Clerk to the council reckons the final cost for this one could be as high as £4000.  That is a huge sum – half what the council raises in council tax each year!

This is why area councillors are usually urged never to stand down (except in general election years, when things get cheaper).  A councillor who wants to resign is usually begged not to, unless they have a really powerful reason!

Leadership

So… unless all this money is to be drained away, some responsibility, from all of us, needs to be shown.

Could the council set up a small sub-group to try to meet all the candidates, and ask the candidates if they seriously want to stand?   The sub-group could even ask the candidates to talk among themselves, to perhaps come to an agreement among themselves about the one that is best suited to go forward?
After all, this is only a two-year tenure. There will be another (full) election to Draycott Parish Council in 2019.

One suggestion was that the council could try to get an election postponed until May (when the county-council election takes place), as joint elections are cheaper. However, May is just a tiny bit too late to satisfy the legal criteria, so that’s a no-go.

The council meets this Monday (20th February).  Let’s hope they have some ideas and show some leadership.
If you also have ideas, you can present them at the public participation session which takes place from 7.30-7.45.

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

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

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Old Road accident

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

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

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Untidy – again

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

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

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

Draycott bus-shelter-roof

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

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

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Over to you, councillors … again.

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New MP for us?

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

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

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

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

– – –
Exam results

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

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

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NEWS: cricket funding / bird-watch / Old Lane traffic / more transparency

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid January 2015
News of…:  Blythe cricket new pavilion progress / more transparency demanded of local authorities / give one hour to bird-watching / Foxfield Railway success / traffic on Cresswell Old Lane …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– –
Cricketing in winter

No… the cricket season has not started early!  However, the folks at Blythe Cricket Club in Cresswell don’t relax during these months; as maintaining and caring for the club’s future is a year-round activity.

The good news is that the club has been able to announce that it has been successful in progressing to ‘Stage 3’ of their Lottery Grant Application for a new pavilion/community-centre.   In practical terms, this means the club is now entitled to some grant-aid to help it to progress in matters such as designs, project-management and business plans.  Up until now, it has had to rely on its own fund-raising (and some helpful donations) to try to pay for all the administration costs of the application.
Let’s hope that this is the start of something big – the existing dilapidated pavilion really cannot take too many more years.

Blythe CC presentation

Gavin McAllister of the Your Housing Group presents a cheque to Colin Dawson (in the cap) of Blythe Club for £300 … as every little helps!

Meanwhile, fund-raising goes on: the latest news is that the Your Housing Group has come up with a grant of £300 to help towards better facilities for young players.

Incidentally, the statisticians have been able to reveal that 2014 was Blythe’s best-ever season.  Some fine bowling, and an outstanding performance from batsman Alex Heslop (with over 600 runs), really did the trick.
Well done to Blythe!

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Bird-watching at home

The seriously good thing about the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is that you don’t even have to leave your house to take part – yet you are making a serious contribution to the well-being of the wildlife of this country.  The RSPB use all the data you will collect to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the birdlife in our own areas.

And all you need to do is spend an hour (sometime over the weekend of 24-25 January) counting the birds in your garden. Easy!
The RSPB make it doubly simple by providing you on their website with a checklist of what to look out for.

There are a number of bird-enthusiasts in Draycott.

At Huntley Wood, Chris Jones & Arthur Trevor erected a bird feeding station during the summer, and they have been encouraging birds to feed there.  The idea is to get a perfect site for taking wildlife photographs, and they are also offering courses to anyone who wants to learn how to do so – see Arthur Jones Images .
The feeders make it possible to get remarkably close to the birds…

And remember the wildlife notice-board in Cresswell lay-by, which illustrates some of the less well-known birds that have been seen in this district. You may even see some of them on your garden-watch… with luck.

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Solar panels traffic

Thanks to John Holdcroft, who queried the yellow signs that recently appeared on the road from Draycott to Tean, directing traffic to ‘Solar Park Deliveries’.  (See John’s email)
These signs refer to the Novus solar-panels complex that is being built on land belonging to Lower Newton Farm, on Cresswell Old Lane. (See our coverage of the proposal).

Any traffic that goes along Cresswell Old Lane has to negotiate some very narrow stretches, but at least it’s a good thing that the complex’s managers are directing traffic away from the residential part of Cresswell Road.

How are householders in Cresswell Old Lane finding the traffic flow? Please let us know…  (see Comments)

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More ‘transparency’

The trend in government at the moment is for ‘transparency’.   The problem, it’s said, is that, in the past, councils and local authorities have tended to try to obscure what they do – because they dislike having to be accountable.

So, it’s interesting to see that Staffordshire’s Police Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, has decided to create what he calls a ‘Safer Neighbourhood Panel’ for our area of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
The panel, made up of local people and magistrates, will scrutinise the work done by police in this area and give feedback to their communities.  It’s all part of his drive for ‘transparency’ and ‘open accountability’.  To find out more visit the Police Commissioner website.
People interested in joining a Safer Neighbourhood Panel in the Moorlands area should email junaid.gharda@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

We think it’s a good thing.   In a democratic society, surely voters should to be able to find out in a straightforward way what their representatives are up to; and be able to comment easily too on any activities.

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Steaming up

Finally, though the Foxfield Steam Railway is in the next district, at Blythe Bridge, it is near enough for us to congratulate it on its success in the 2014 Heritage Railway Association Awards.
It managed to pick up the award for Steam Railways – and the HRA praised the way that Foxfield has become a serious national visitor attraction.
We know that some people from Draycott volunteer at Foxfield, so congratulations to them too! It is indeed a fantastic achievement.

In case you are anxious to visit Foxfield, we should tell you that trains aren’t due to be running there again until April – but it may be worth sticking a note in your diary……

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If you know of something that you’d like to us to mention, please email us.

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NEWS: solar farm? / Izaak jobs / lost dog / wedding / no cafes…

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid March 2014 
We have news of…:  plans for large-scale solar energy hub locally / Izaak Walton pub job opportunities / Cresswell girl in ‘dream’ wedding / lack of drop-in clubs in Draycott / dog found in Cresswell Lane.
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – –
Solar hub for Cresswell?

More interesting possible developments locally…!
This time, a large commercial company is expressing interest in building a solar energy site on farm land in Newton, which is a small area between Totmonslow and Cresswell.

We presume that the company in question Novus Solar Development will be wanting to lease the land there in order to build large solar panels on the fields.
However, in fact there’s no need to speculate – as such questions will all be answered at a one-day public exhibition this week (on Thursday March 13th) – which takes place at Draycott Church & Community Hall between 2pm and 8pm.  All are invited.

The company will have representatives there who will be taking questions, and noting comments from interested residents.
(This kind of consultation is required before the proposals can move on to any possible planning application).

These sorts of solar parks seem, on the surface, to be the most acceptable form of green energy – but, even so, there are still divided opinions. See the BBC report which discusses the pros and cons of solar farms.

– – –
No place to go

The news that the family-oriented Hub Club has had to close (see our previous report) reminds us that there are no community drop-in clubs or cafes in Draycott.

Nearby Milwich has a community coffee-shop every Wednesday (see milwich.info);  Tean has an occasional one on Mondays at Greatwood Hall; and in Blythe Bridge, the Blythe Social Club meets every Thursday afternoon at the Scout Hut for tea, cakes, ad bingo (call 01782 398994 for details).
But Draycott has nothing similar.

These events may only be weekly, but they can be something of a lifeline for people who live on their own, or for people who just want to meet the neighbours around them in a convivial atmosphere.

– – –
Jobs on the doorstep

Meanwhile, along at the Izaak Walton Inn, it seems that the refurbishment is progressing nicely.   We’re told that, if everything continues on schedule, the formal re-opening of the pub/restaurant will be on 21st March.

Of course, the business will need staff, and Kathy says she is still looking for bar, kitchen and front of house staff, as well as part-time cleaners and a general gardener/handyman.
If you’re interested, email Kathy, telling her why you think you could do the job, and with a copy of your CV to date.

– – –
Sam’s dreamy day

Finally, we were pleasantly surprised to turn the pages of the latest edition of Staffordshire Life, the county’s monthly magazine, only to see an article about the ‘dream wedding’ of Samantha Swinson, a girl from a well-known Cresswell family.
Sam married her beloved, Andy Sigley, last summer.

Sam is also Steve Swinson’s daughter; and she is well-known to many of us because of her charity fund-raising efforts for the Midlands Air Ambulance.  After her dad died a couple of years ago, Sam and the rest of her family decided to pay tribute to Steve’s memory by raising as much cash as they could for the Air Ambulance, which was Steve’s favourite charity.

The article in Staffordshire Life comes complete with photos of the reception, which was held at Heath House in Tean. The day itself was nice and sunny, making for some great images!

– – –
Dog found

Are you missing a dog?  Well, one was found on Saturday morning (8th) wandering near the Draycott Sports Centre on Cresswell Lane.
Phone 01782 392164 for details.

***
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(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to, and it is always kept private anyway and never published, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).