Category Archives: people

NEWS: Vale?…Fields / Candidates needed / Road sign confusions / Betty is 106!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2019
In this post we have news of…:  Blythe Vale changes its name / just days left for village nominations / street names craziness! / Bessie reaches a grand old age… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a family tennis tournament…  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

_ _ _
Vale … to Fields

St Modwen Developers are wasting no time in getting on with the building of the new housing estate on Draycott Level (on the ridge behind Chandni Cottage restaurant).
The signs are already up; the ‘site access road’ is in action; and even the advertisements for the properties are already online.   (One odd thing: their website gives a list of the nearby schools which are among the ‘benefits’ of living here, BUT William Amory Primary has been excluded from the list, which is a bit of a surprise…)
The previous name we knew it under, ‘Blythe Vale’, has been changed to Blythe Fields.

Blythe Fields board

Flying the flag for ‘Blythe Fields’ in Draycott

So, from all that, one can guess that St Modwen clearly have no fears that the latest (revised) expansion plans they have submitted for the estate (which mean the latest version of the estate will grow to be almost the size of the one coming to Cresswell) will get the necessary planning permission… !
The proposals go before the Planning Committee at Leek next month.

_ _ _
Your Village Needs You

It’s to be hoped that we get more energetic local councillors soon – ones that are capable of dealing with these big issues in a way that our current representatives seem unable to.
And, if things go right, we may indeed get some as soon as in a few weeks, because the latest round of council elections is almost upon us.

Election promotion posterBut, for a democracy to work, ‘good & true’ people need to come forward and stand as candidates; and there are only a very few days left for people who wish to stand for election to Draycott Council to put in their nomination papers.
(Draycott Council covers Draycott, Cresswell, Draycott Cross & Totmonslow).
The Staffordshire SPCA is urging village councils to run campaigns to get candidates to come forward, and some have; already other nearby councils are energetically running such promotions, calling on their residents to come forward to stand as village councillors – next-door Checkley Council is even running a promotional video.
Sadly, even though we are so close to the deadline, Draycott Council has not yet chosen to run such a campaign. One can only wonder why.

Seven candidates are needed to stand for Draycott Village-Parish Council alone – that’s how many seats there are on the council.

So. Do you think YOU could make a difference?
If you do, print out the official documents and fill them in.
If you are not sure, read our Guide to Becoming a Draycott & Totmonslow & Cresswell councillor.
But remember – the nomination papers must be delivered (by hand) to Leek by 4pm on April 3rd… which is not long away…

_ _ _
Bessie rocks on

One person who is well-remembered for a being a great Draycott village councillor is the redoubtable Betty (aka Bessie) Hammond who served for thirty years. She has retired from the role now – which is not surprising, as she turned 106 last week!

Bessie at 106

Enjoying the birthday tributes!

Unlike her 100th Birthday party, last week’s party was a smaller affair, as Betty gets a little tireder these days than she used to, but a pub room still had to be arranged to cope with all the guests!

It’s amazing to think that, when Betty was born, in 1913, the First World War had not even started and horse transport still ruled the road…   It’s even more amazing to think of all the babies that have come into the world in her hands: she spent many years as a sort of unofficial midwife to the working people of Draycott & Cresswell.  In fact, she was tireless in her public service. Read our article – Betty Hammond’s Life-Story.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were more people like Betty?

_ _ _
Odd – and then odder

Even Betty would have been perplexed though if she had had to deal with the very odd case of the Incorrect Road-Sign that got even more incorrecter… (sorry for the bad grammar!)

Those of you with long memories will remember that back in 2013 we wondered why the road sign at one end of Cresswell Old Lane was labelled (wrongly) as Cresswell Old Road. We even wrote an article about it.

cresswell old road sign

The wrong name…

We reported the issue to Staffs Moorlands Council – but nothing was done. So, eventually, we took the problem to Draycott Council, who agreed to pass on our concerns in an official letter.

And, hey presto… soon the clever people at Leek got the sign changed.
Or.. did they?

'Caverswall old lane' new sign

Caverswall??? Should be Cresswell !

The road-name sign was changed, yes, but to say ‘Caverswall Old Lane’ … Ooops!!!!

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: GP appts / fresh shelter / badger cull / greyhounds charity

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2018
In this post we have news of…: easier appointments at doctor’s / shelter gets painted! / badger kill starts / Cresswell’s animal sanctuary …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a Draycott History Day…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
More flexibility at the doctor’s – but…

As most of us will know, what is most wearisome about going to the doctor is simply getting the appointment in the first place, especially one that is at a good time for us.
The ‘ratings’ system for the surgery at Tean, where many of us go, shows that one in five patients at it were not really satisfied with what happened when they tried to make an appointment.

Well, in response, the process is changing.
As of this month, if you phone Tean (or its sister surgery at Blythe), you are more likely to get an appointment at a time that suits you (including, if you want it, one at a weekend or evening time – which, up to now, has not been offered).
Erm, yes… but what’s the catch? Well, unfortunately, you might well have to travel to another site – our nearest centre for these additional hours is in Longton.

The new system is being introduced, county-wide, to try to cope with a number of things: the workload on doctors; the difficulty of getting the right appointment; and the fact that some people, working-people especially, can’t make daytime appointments, and prefer evening or weekend times instead.
A spokesman said: “Patients will generally not be seen by their usual doctors or nurses but the clinician who sees them will have access to the patient’s records as long as the patient gives consent.”

So… if you phone your local surgery for an appointment, at least you are now more likely to get a convenient appointment – but it may be in the evening, and you may be offered to go to Longton Cottage Hospital for it…

_ _ _
Fresh lick of paint

A nice bit of public spirit was shown by Draycott resident Roger Tabbernor when he decided to go out and re-paint the Stuart Avenue bus shelter. It was looking pretty manky and even near-derelict.

Bus shelter

Smart bus shelter. Sadly, little can be done about the discoloured perspex windows

Roger got permission first from the village council to do the work, and it now looks pretty smart.

Roger is a parish councillor himself, so he will be aware that schemes that used to provide funds for village beautification just aren’t there anymore.
For example: the grant from SMDC to pay for work undertaken by a local village ‘lengthsman’ (aka – an odd-jobs person) has now been taken away; and even the council-ward community-grants scheme, which has paid for some neat projects in Draycott in the past, looks like it will disappear due to forthcoming cuts at the county-council.
(The village council though has decided to continue to employ a local litter-picker – but at a cost of a hefty £1,100 a year, ie nearly 12.5 per cent of the council’s whole budget).

So… following Roger’s example, local residents are going to have to start volunteering themselves for minor works if they want things to keep looking nice.

_ _ _
Badgers in cull

As most of us know, there has been a furious argument in recent years about badgers.
Over thirty thousand cattle had to be slaughtered last year in England because they had contracted the cow version of tuberculosis – and farmers say the disease is often passed on to cows by badgers.
The solution, say farmers, is to reduce badger numbers by killing enough of them to thus see the risk reduced.

Badger (pic from Wikipedia)The government is convinced by the argument, and this month, a badger cull started right here in Staffordshire. It’s expected that some 4000 badgers will be killed across the county over the next few months, mostly by shooting.
Some of the ‘cull zones’ are known to be right here in the Moorlands, even though exact locations are not being publicised.

Most of us don’t know what to think about all this, but we are being urged to do something if we spot an injured badger. The Staffordshire Badger Action Group wants you to call them in such a case, and they will try to send someone out to see what has to be done.

In the meantime, we’re told the killing must be left to licensed operatives, and no one should take the law in their own hands. (Ironically, badgers and their setts are still protected under law from the ordinary public….)

_ _ _
Good news for greyhounds

Talking of animals, there’s a great chance this month to hear about a wonderful local sanctuary to save greyhounds that are no longer wanted by their owners. The centre, based in Cresswell and run by volunteers, has expanded since it started up in 1995, and it now takes in goats and rescue ponies as well.Greyhounds, Golden Oldies & Friends logoA lot of people will know Diane Bostock; and she is giving a talk on the work of the organisation (which is actually called ‘Greyhounds & Golden Oldies’) to the Draycott Women’s Institute in a couple of weeks’ time.
If you’re interested, give the WI a call to see if they have space enough to let you attend.

Incidentally, Diane’s talk is just one of dozens of events in and around Draycott over the next two months. You’ll never be stuck for something to do locally!
Check out our events page to see what we mean.

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: sad deaths / fatal road accident / feisty women / planning matters

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-August 2018
In this post we have news of…: sad deaths / fatal road accident / planning matters / three feisty women   …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a rumba dance workshop…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Despite the pleasant weather during most of the month, here in Draycott-in-the-Moors, August 2018 will be remembered for a number of sad events.

Most people will know now that Steve Jones (pic below) passed away toward the end of the month.
Steve JonesHe was a familiar figure in Cresswell where he would be seen going  out up and down in his wheelchair, often taking his dog with him.
His death came as quite a shock to the community as well as to his family – some of us were even chatting with him cheerfully about his various projects less than a week before he died.

He was active in a number of projects, as people will know; he had also stood successfully for election to the village council in 2015, and became its vice-chairman just a couple of months ago.
The council has now formally published the notice of his death, and you are invited to leave comments and tributes on the notice.
Steve was a committed Roman Catholic, preferring the ‘old ways’ of faith; and he is to be buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s in Cresswell. May he rest in peace.

Fatal accident

Nearly all of us will have read about the death of Rebecca Smith and her five year old son. On August 16th, both died in a road accident, which took place around midday more or less outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant, near to where the dual carriageway begins; the other two victims of the accident are still recovering…Draycott Road accident Aug 2018
Rebecca didn’t actually live in Draycott, but was not far from her home, which was in Fenton.

One aspect of the crash that has not been reported as much as it should have been is that a local resident who was on the scene knew enough of CPR to carry out resuscitation techniques.
Well done to them, and it shows how suddenly each and every one of us may be called upon in an emergency, so … learning basic life-saving processes is a must for all of us really.
As to the cause of the crash, the police don’t completely know yet what actually went wrong, and maybe only the inquest can really establish that.

Road safety

Of course, many people who live along that stretch of Draycott have been fearing the possibility of a fatal accident there for some time. The death of Rebecca and her son only confirmed those fears.
There have been calls by residents for some time for a traffic refuge to be installed in the centre of the road around where The Golden Keg is.

The incident may even jolt our local village councillors into some positive action. The next round of Staffordshire’s Road Safety Grant Fund is now open for applications; and if our parish council were successful in applying, money could be used to bring the residents on the road there together to create a road-safety plan for that stretch.
We’ll see.

Planning matters

At last there is a date for a formal discussion of the way the new roundabout in Cresswell is being designed.
There has been a lot of discussion in our locality about the design, and worries about the effect it would have. See article.

For some strange reason though, although the consultation period was brought to an end in March, we’ve been waiting since then (!) for the matter to be brought before the Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee. A date has now finally been set for the discussion – the 27th September.

Meanwhile, an application to build six new homes in Totmonslow has just been filed. If you want to see and comment on the application, just click here. It will be discussed at our local council’s meeting on Sept 10th.

Feisty women!

August 2018 will also be remembered as the month that three feisty women left us.

Joyce Plant who has died aged 77 will only be remembered by older folk one supposes, but she was one of the leaders of the local campaign to build a bypass for Tean & Draycott – which eventually became the A50 dual carriageway, as we know it today.
Joyce, who lived all her life in Tean, believed powerfully that the huge increases in traffic at the time were a threat to safety and to village way of life, and she was constantly speaking in the press. The action group that she was a part of saw their dream come true in 1985, after many years of campaigning.
Some people in Cresswell will also remember her as a formidable figure employed in the admin offices at Blythe Colour Works during the fifties and sixties.

Our other two feisty women are Jacquie Leach and Shelagh Wood – both of whom (thankfully!) have not died – but have moved home out of this area. Jacquie and Shelagh were, like Joyce, known for the energetic and tireless campaigns they led for what they believed to be right. You can see a tribute to them by clicking here.

Wildlife Board unveiled

Jacquie Leach (left) present as Cllr Mark Deaville (right) unveils the Cresswell Wildlife Panel – one of Shelagh & Jacquie’s projects

It is interesting to think that – in this 100-year anniversary of females getting the vote – we are mentioning how local life was so much improved … by three women! The suffragettes would have been proud of them.

Right now, we seem to have a huge gap in our village life. As one looks around, there are almost no people showing the leadership & commitment & belief that these three did.
However, there are village council elections next year – so let’s hope we see some similarly energetic figures coming to the fore then.
We need them.

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: Council resignation / N Plan pops up / Songs Of Praise / community police / council indifference

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2018
In this post we have news of…: resignation of council chairman, neighbourhood plan sessions, council indifference to Cresswell, police surgeries, church sing-along …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a family tennis tournament…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Council resignation

Just one month after the Draycott Council’s clerk resigned, so does the council’s chairman.
Roger Holdcroft, who is highly respected, and who has hardly put a foot wrong in his time on the council over the last three years, felt he could no longer carry on in the chairman position.
So, a fortnight ago, he issued a resignation letter – which you can read by clicking here.
It all follows months of unheard-of scenes.

Roger HoldcroftAs you can read in his letter, Roger (pic, right) felt that he was being undermined by some of his fellow councillors, and even worse, was being unfairly slandered and ‘trolled’ by them or their supporters.
With that kind of atmosphere, it is clear he felt there was just too much disrespect, and that it was too unpleasant, as chairman, to be in the middle of it.
It is fair to say that some of the shenanigans that this council gets up to didn’t meet with his full approval either.
Mr Holdcroft remains an ordinary councillor though.

Oddly enough, this is the third resignation in eighteen months. In Jan 2017, another Draycott councillor resigned her seat altogether, after saying she had experienced “harassment” at the hands of other councillors.

Amazingly, there has been little or no reaction from any other councillor to the resignation, who all remained stony-faced as the letter was read out at the latest meeting of the council.

(NB — the chairman of a parish council is not its ‘leader’ or spokesperson – this is a misconception. The chairman’s role is little more than managing the council’s meetings, but is nevertheless a responsible position).

– – –
Time for a sing-song

Is the popular BBC programme ‘Songs Of Praise’ really coming to our district?
Well, no, not really – despite the posters you will see around the place…

The fact is that one of the members of the Draycott St Margaret’s Church congregation thought it would be a lot of fun to have a localised Songs Of Praise, as a chance for the community to come together for a sing-along of favourite hymns and tunes.
We don’t get the chance these days for a good sing-song, do we?, so this should be a happy event.

You too can also get extra-involved by suggesting a favourite hymn to be sung on the day. Contact Kate on 07715 284580 if you have ideas about one.

The event takes place on Sunday 29 April at 6pm at St Peter’s in Blythe Bridge (the sister church of St Margaret’s) – and all are welcome.
But… no, the BBC won’t be there!

– – –
Planning neighbourliness

Another call for community involvement is seen in the growing desire to put a local ‘neighbourhood plan’ into place.
After a failed attempt here in Draycott two years ago, it looks like this time the idea has a bit more steam to it: the volunteers of the working-group behind it have been given grant-money and are a bit more confident of success this time around.

(A few semi-rural areas like ours already have neighbourhood plans either established or almost established.
Nearby, both Checkley (see pic below) and Forsbrook real are well on the way to getting their plans ratified).checkley neighbourhood plan poster

Our own plan is still at the baby stage, so nothing has yet been decided – which means you still have the chance to influence it. Over the next fortnight, there will be three ‘pop-up’ open sessions, where you can go along and have a chat, and say your piece.
It’s worth putting in your penny-worth, if you are interested in the future of our district, as, once a plan is set up, local authorities and developers must (yes, must) take notice of it.
Check our What’s On page to see dates and times of these sessions.

If you really can’t make the sessions, at least fill in the form – it’s only half-a-dozen questions long – and get it back to the working-group.
Click here to see (and print off) the form.

– – –
Getting down with the police

A few years ago, there were regular crime & order ‘community surgeries’, which our local PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) put on for us every month. It was a chance to talk about issues from dog-mess in public places (illegally left) to more serious problems such as drugs and more.
Sadly, they were discontinued when there were changes in the personnel of our local police.

However, along has come a new PCSO, Daniel Nettleton, and he has restored the sessions. Every month now, you can meet up with PCSO Nettleton at Blythe Bridge Library and chat about matters. If it’s very serious, there is even a closed room at the library for confidential chats.

Daniel is very keen to see folks, so make a note of the dates he is going to be there (though you can phone him at any time too, of course).
He’s at the library 10am-noon on 14th April, 12th May, 9th June, 14th July – and so on.
He’s a nice fellow too, and may even make you a cup of coffee!

– – –
Council Shenanigans

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd tricks that we simply haven’t been able to keep up, so we have given the council its own little section -‘ Council Shenanigans’. If you are fed up with our council, you might want to look away, as this section will just make you feel worse…)

What’s the biggest infrastructure project prospect for our district at the moment? Yes, it’s the Cresswell Blythe-Park roundabout (which is planned to be just 100 yards from the railway crossing). It will bring significant disruption to the residents of Cresswell.

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

This artist’s impression shows the roundabout and planned houses in bright colours; and the existing buildings in lavender shades (pic: SMDC Planning website)

In fact, it has been deemed such a major set of works that the planners at Staffs Moorland Council decided they couldn’t pass it without the approval of the Planning Committee.
Then, the planning committee in turn deemed it so important that they have asked for more time to determine it, and now it won’t be discussed until May. The local MP, Bill Cash, has got involved too.
It’s a big one!
On the consultation web-page, nearly two-dozen residents (and Bill Cash) have put in their formal comments expressing their concerns.

And what has our Draycott Council done?

Despite being on the list of official consultees, the council has made… no response on the consultation web-page,
When the matter was put before the councillors at their meeting in February, they made … er… no comments.

No wonder some residents of Cresswell feel this council is not taking any notice of them and is just indifferent to their problems.

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: Council payments / a 105th / W West van / kids’ sports

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid March 2018
In this post we have news of…: Betty’s 105th party / the Wild West van  from Cresswell / overpayment by councillors? / new sports sessions for kids …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Easter Ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Happy Long Life

One birthday party we have all been looking forward to is that of the district’s oldest resident, Betty (Bessie) Hammond.
Betty is a legend in so many ways, and she celebrates her 105th (!!) birthday later this month. She was born before the First World War even got started…

Betty Hamond & card

The 100th Birthday party – only five years ago…

She does admit that she gets more tired more quickly these days, but even so, she still accepts offers to “do her bit”. She was the official guest of honour last summer when the new £500,000 community pavilion was opened at the local cricket club. She cut the ribbon to open it.

To mark this amazing birthday milestone, an ‘open’ party for all friends, neighbours and colleagues is being held at Draycott Sports Centre on Saturday 24 March, 2pm onwards.
However, over such a long life, Betty has made so many friends that it would be impossible to send out invitations to all. So, as Susan Hulme, Betty’s daughter, is telling everyone: “…don’t wait for an invitation, just come along and say hello… If you know Betty – consider yourself invited!”

– – –
On the road again

With the winter behind us and the warm weather coming up, one local man is gearing up for the festival season.
Ian Barlow, who runs the Little House catering-van, can be found every weekday morning by the bowling green on Blythe Business Park. His fry-ups are the best of British, and all (not just those working on the park) are welcome to visit, take a seat, and enjoy a breakfast.
His range has now extended, and extra, more exotic dishes are also on offer, including some spicy Tex-Mex chilli etc.

However, in the summer months Ian also travels out on weekends – to look after hungry festival-goers.
So… he decided a new look was needed, and he experimented last summer with a Wild West design on his van (to go with the chilli range!), which was made up to look like a log-cabin. It was so successful, he’s keeping the look. Ian will also sport a ten-gallon hat when he feels like it, just to complete the appearance! Ian barlow and van

Check him out at local festivals (including CloggerFest) and say hello.
John Wayne would be proud….

– – –
Get the kids moving

If Spring is here, then it’s time to get the kids running about again – and our local sports clubs are doing just that.

Next weekend (Sunday 18 March), Draycott Sports Centre is hosting a so-called ‘Quorn Cup’ – which brings together one adult and one child from a family, to play as a pair in a tennis tournament. A soft ‘red’ ball is used to make it fairer.
But, more than that, the centre is re-starting its Mini-Tennis sessions. Kids from as young as three (up to ten years) can apply for the lessons, which take place on the indoor courts with qualified coaches. You can book online for the lessons – click here.

Blythe All Stars posterMeanwhile at our local cricket club, a new initiative this season is the involvement with the ECB’s ‘All Stars Cricket’ project for kids. These sessions will be between 5pm-6pm on Fridays. If you know anyone under the age of 7,  Blythe CC’s All Stars Cricket could be for them…

Well done to our sports clubs for continuing to be so family-friendly.

– – –
Thousands of pounds…

Last month Draycott Council’s Clerk, Kate Bradshaw, aftre nearly four years in post, resigned.
(Because the records of the relevant meetings have been kept secret, we don’t know what has been going on to cause this).

Anyway, the post is now vacant. Applications are welcomed – closing date April 9th. A Clerk is the main employee of a local, parish council, and is paid to manage its affairs.

The salary for the post was going to be listed at around £210 to £250 per month – but, that rate now seems to be under question…  as a member of the public, Mr Warburton, raised an interesting point at the last council meeting: is the current salary correct?

Mr Warburton’s research indicated to him that the current hourly rate of £12.50 for the Clerk seemed high; and he said that, in his opinion, councillors, by applying an inappropriate rate, may have over-spent taxpayers’ money by some £3000.

Mr Warburton may well have a good point. The hourly rate has been around £12 for the last few years, back to the time of the previous clerk in fact, and councillors may not have been as diligent as they should have been over the past decade or so in reviewing the rate each year. Did they give it proper annual examination?
In law, local/parish councils can pay whatever they like (some councils just barely pay the minimum wage to their clerks, while others do pay the top rate). So, the councillors are within their rights to pay what they like…

If this sort of thing interests you, Mr Warburton’s points should now be on the agenda for the council’s next meeting – which takes place on Monday 26 March (not on the usual third Monday) at 7.30pm.

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

– – –
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.

– – –
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?

– – –
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!

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

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

– – –
Get in the Christmas (tree) spirit

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

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

Draycott Christmas Fest 2014 6

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

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

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

– – –
Money in time for Christmas

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

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

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

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

– – –
A different kind of streaming

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

Cresswell Bridge silt

River Blithe passes under Cresswell Bridge

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

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

– – –
Arrows at the Arms

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

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

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

– – –
Fifty years in the Institute

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

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

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

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

NEWS: hacking / leadership issues / RIP Barry / road safety

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2016
News of…:  primary school Chinese hacker / has Draycott PC served Cresswell well? / road safety poster competition / RIP Barry Phillips…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Sausage Festival! Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Hacked off

If you’ve tried logging on recently to, our local primary school’s website, this is what you will see on the homepage…

William Amory school website hacked

Yes, the William Amory School website has been ‘hacked’: somehow or other a very clever internet-nerd has figured out all the passwords to the website and ‘broken into’ it; and replaced it with whatever she or he wants.
It looks to us as though the villain in this case must be from the other side of the world…

It’s not quite clear how this breach occurred, but it is a warning to us all. If you maintain a home-made website you really do need to back-up all you create AND keep your firewall up to date – though, even that won’t help against a very determined hacker unfortunately…

– – –
Cresswell – poor cousins?

People living in Cresswell might be forgiven for having a hollow laugh at the new words all over the homepage of Draycott Parish Council’s website.
The words read “Let’s find a way to defeat the effects of the Cresswell 168 houses and industrial park extension recently passed by SMDC! Together we can be strong!

The fact is that Draycott Parish Council’s record on fighting the Blythe Park development has been rather weak.
Look at the facts:
When trouble was happening in Draycott Old Road with the college earlier this year, the council summonsed the college authorities to public question-and-answer sessions, to explain what was going on – and not just once, but twice!
Also, because there has been flooding of the ditches in Draycott Old Road, the council has asked the county councillor to make a special effort and draw up a special report about it.
So… the council does manage to act sometimes, especially over issues in the Draycott side of the parish.

But … when it comes to a huge problem in Cresswell (the Blythe Park housing development), what exactly has the council done during the last twenty months? Er…Written a few letters. And that’s it.

By contrast, when housing issues (often much smaller than ours!) have arisen in other Moorlands parishes, the councils there have shown leadership.
For example: in Leek East, a big demonstration (against The Mount housing plans) was organised; when they faced an unwanted development, Kingsley Council called an ‘extraordinary’ public meeting of locals; and Werrington Council organised a protest of residents outside Moorlands House.
These parish councils have stood up and united their communities.

The hundred-and-seventy Cresswell residents who signed letters opposing the Blythe Park application might feel just a little let down by their own community leaders on Draycott Parish Council; and a bit annoyed by the empty sentiments on the parish council’s homepage.

– – –
Farewell Barry

A sad occasion last week was the funeral of Barry Phillips.

Barry Phillips 2015

Barry Phillips

After a working life at Blythe Colours, Barry became something of a local historian, doing massive amounts of research not only on Blythe Colours itself but on World War Two in this district, especially about the American ‘Bolero’ Camp in Cresswell, even going to America to meet former soldiers who had served here.

He contributed his researches to the Draycott-en-le-Moors Online History website, the project which led directly to the definitive book about the parish A History of The Parish of Draycott-en-le-Moors by Matthew Pointon.

Barry had lots and lots of stories about this area, and he will be sorely missed.
We send our condolences to his wife Linda and his children, who are now grown-up.

– – –
Draw a poster to keep us safe!

Finally, it has been a great summer for activities in our little district. From the local dance-hall to the sports clubs to the churches and to the library and the pubs, everyone has tried to lay something on to make the summer of 2016 memorable.  They all deserve a round of applause…  And it is not over yet – check our What’s On pages.

If your kids might enjoy a local stay-at-home project, they still have the chance, with a local road safety competition.
The local community group is asking kids between 4 and 11 to design a poster which will try to remind motorists to keep within the speed limit when going through our district.
When the kids have finished the poster, all they have to do is fold it up and push it into the letterbox in the Kiosk Information Centre (see pic below) in Cresswell lay-by. The posters will then be displayed – with prizes for the best ones.
Final entry date is Thursday 1st September.

Cresswell Information Centre

Change of use – from telephone box to ‘Information Centre’

As we all know, most of the parish is covered by a 40mph speed limit, but it’s the sort of law that gets broken as often as it gets observed… sadly… so this competition is a great idea.

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: beautifying Draycott / S106 ‘mistake’ / happy arrival at St M’s / map of new estate

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2016
News of…:  Cricket club gets S106 apology / happy event for Rev Jonathan / residents get floral! / map of planned Cresswell housing estate …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including summer play-sessions for children… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Club gets an apology

You wouldn’t Adam&Eve it…
You may remember that we reported last month on the clauses in the formal agreement permitting the ‘Blythe Park Housing Estate’ to be built in Cresswell – the so-called ‘S106’ agreement.
Page eleven of the agreement indicated that Blythe Cricket Club, just up the road from the site, would earn up to half-a-million pounds if the agreement went ahead.

Well, the cricket club committee were furious about this announcement – because they had never discussed or agreed to anything of the sort!

Vice-chairperson of the club, Ali Grimley, has been after Staffordshire Moorlands Council like a terrier… and, after a long month of chasing it down, she has finally got a definitive reply from them:
From the information available, it appears that the principle of the ‘potential’ community use of the Cresswell cricket club pitches facilitated by securing a commuted sum from the Blythe Park planning permission does not appear to have been previously discussed with the club and I can only apologise for this lack of engagement.

So… — it was all a mistake…!!
It seems unbelievable that such an important document – signed, witnessed and sealed by lawyers – should have such a profoundly wrong supposition in it.
We probably have not heard the last of this, especially as it has embarrassed the club greatly – and club members may well wonder if a simple email apology is enough.

Incidentally, the clause has not yet been removed from the online version of the document.

– – –
News street-map

Talking of the S106 Agreement, it includes a street map which shows how the new housing estate is likely to be laid out. (Double-click the pic to make it larger).

Cresswell housing estate street map

As you can see, a new roundabout will be where the Cresswell lay-by on Sandon Road is at the moment. A brand new road will lead into the estate from there, while the current entrance road will be bollarded off.
The housing seems relatively crowded for 170 homes – but some will be in multi-storey flats.

It seems like a fair few trees will be planted too.  VVSM, the local community action group, told us that it wants to take on a watching brief – to make sure the developers keep their promises – and it is currently looking for more members to join up and help in the task.

– – –
Floral arrangements…

Hats off to the residents who have shown great community spirit in trying to beautify our district.

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The old planter at the start of Draycott Old Road was really looking rather shabby – so… well done to Sandie Banks Lyle and her helpers who restored, repainted, and restocked it… It really looks great now.

On the edge of the St Margaret’s car-park, some publicly-spirited soul has planted the rather empty looking mound… and it is now flowering nicely (see below).

Flower bed by St Margarets car park

And in Cresswell, the local residents group have been cutting back some of the vegetation which was making getting to the bus-stop so problematic.

It’s great to see people care.
And the reason this all matters is that: the district council (Staffs Moorlands DC) is withdrawing its grant, which has been given in the past to the parish council, to pay for a handyperson to do these kind of small jobs.
SMDC says it now expects community volunteers to take on such tasks…

All we could do with now is someone to sort out (get rid probably) of the ugly looking and dilapidated planter at the Draycott crossroads (see below).

Draycott crossroads planter

Over to you, Draycott Parish Council!

– – –
Congratulations in orders

More good news is that last month our vicar the Reverend Jonathan Roberts and his wife Sophie (see pic) became parents for the third time.

Reverend Jonathan Roberts and wife

Such is Jonathan’s dedication to duty, he even spent an hour away from the happy nursery to attend the Draycott St Margaret’s Fayre (he is ‘rector’ of St Margaret’s Church) – before hastily rushing back …

It must be something in the Draycott air…

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: road-holes / yoga / trolls / eggs…

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early May 2016
News of…:  potholes and collapsing road drain covers / a return to Blythe Colours for yoga / trolls in Draycott  / eggs galore!…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including the WI birthday party … Check out the Events page)

– – –
Drive (extra) carefully

Well, despite all the spin and soft words from the county council, Draycott’s roads seem to still have big issues.  It’s not just the potholes, though the one on the central junction is positively dangerous now, it seems to be drain covers – which are slowly collapsing.

Collapsed drain cover Draycott

The stretch out to the dual carriageway has three collapsing drain covers (see above for one), while the drain-cover on Cresswell Lane is getting deeper each day.  The trouble is that our car can’t avoid it, because the lane is so narrow there, you have to go over it whenever passing another vehicle.  The clunk is getting to be quite a familiar sound!  (And, yes, it has been reported!)

Cresswell litter

Litter spot on Cresswell Lane

Cresswell Lane suffers too from excess litter.  We counted over fifty bits of rubbish on the sides of the 100-yard stretch around the A50 bridge.  Parish councilor Roger Holdcroft has done a bit of research on this, and he is pretty sure that it’s anti-social motorists chucking their take-away wrappers and so on out of their cars as they pass.
Why the litter-bugs pick this section to do their dirty deeds is hard to know – or does the wind sweep all the paper and card into this area?

At one time, the Cresswell Residents Group used to go out and do community litter-picks – but the group folded a couple of years ago.
In fact, the matter of establishing a local community volunteer team was going to be raised at the recent Draycott Annual Assembly – but the meeting was stopped before anyone was allowed to raise any points other than those relating to planning. Shame.

– – –
Stretch those limbs!

Nice to see that the Tatsu Fitness Centre on Blythe Park goes from strength to strength.  As well as martial arts, which Tara and the team do so brilliantly, there is now a regular yoga class there.
Jayne Gregory, who got the class under way this week, is a local lass.  She told us that the room she and her learners will be using is the former Blythe Colour Works directors dining room  which had been sitting vacant for many years.   Jayne added that when she first went along to see the Tatsu Centre she went with her mum, who became quite emotional.
Jayne’s mother had worked at Blythe Colours for many years – and it was a mixture of nostalgia for what once was, sadness for the shame that it all had to close down, and happiness for what was to become of it, that left her feeling teary.
A lovely story.

You can find out more about Jayne’s yoga classes by clicking here.

– – –
Omelettes anyone?

One thing you won’t go short of Draycott area is a nice dish of scrambled eggs…
Now that Spring is here at last, the chickens have started laying again, and some owners are allowing any extra eggs to be sold off.
Some enterprising householders even have a stall outside their homes!

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We had a delicious goose-egg from the house on Draycott Old Road.  It was ginormous, and made a brilliant breakfast.

– – –
Stop trolling

You wouldn’t think that you would get ‘trolls’ in a little village like Draycott, but they must be everywhere.
‘Trolls’ are people, usually anonymous, who like to write spiteful or offensive messages to public figures, usually on the internet.

However, the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan questionnaires, that were posted though residents’ letterboxes last month, have attracted a few trolls too.

We had this letter from Draycott parish councillor, Roger Holdcroft:
“…Dear Parishioners, I write to ask, “Why do we bother?”
I refer to the not inconsiderable amount of time given up by members of the Parish Council to attend meetings, read communications and make considered judgements about the future of our Parish.  They give of their time willingly and gladly, believing in what they do.
One can only question this commitment when one reads comments placed on our recent questionnaire about a possible Neighbourhood Plan.

One resident remarked that Parish Councillors were not “sufficiently intelligent” to make considered judgements on planning issues.  I find this assertion to be insulting, considering the background of some members of the Council and the wealth of experience of others.
The same resident recorded that they wished for plans for the Parish to include “the building of gas chambers for Councillors”.
I find this comment grossly offensive and totally inappropriate on such a document.  My feelings reach out for the Parish Clerk who received this return and was the first to read it.

As I said above, the Parish Councillors believe in what they do and are committed to it.
Fortunately, other returned questionnaires were much more appropriate and the comments included will be given due consideration.
Equally the attendance at the Annual Parish Assembly and the manner in which residents raised issues reassured me of the importance of continuing with our efforts and convinced me of the good reasons for ‘Why we bother’.
Cllr Roger Holdcroft…”

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