Category Archives: planning

NEWS: co-option to come / tidy churchyard / 2nd solar farm / fun summer / local history ‘lab’

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid July 2021
In this post we have news of…: nominate a new councillor / Cresswell’s tidy graveyard / second solar farm coming / history initiative / a great summer for the kids!

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

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Nominate yourself to be a councillor

As you will know, three councillors resigned off the Draycott village council last month, so it was possible an election would be called.
The council itself posted an odd piece of advice on its website, which said: “…. an election does not need to be called… this will … incur costs to the public via the precept (ie council tax). An election will cost the parish council.” While it’s true that all elections have a cash cost, councils are not supposed to be stepping in to make a case against holding elections! (At the very least, they should be putting in the positive reasons for elections, as well). The words have since been deleted.

So, no election has been called. But… how to replace the missing councillors?
Basically, the way it works is that local people should now simply put themselves forward (don’t be shy now!) for the vacancies. A brief letter to the clerk of the council asking for information will start the ball rolling.

Nearly all electors in Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow, Newton, Huntley, Draycott Cross, Bromley Wood are eligible. Residents of Blythe Bridge, Tean, Fulford, Hilderstone, Cheadle, Forsbrook, and Saverley Green are also eligible (under the three-mile rule).
So … write that letter!

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Summer of fun

You can tell that we’ve reached Freedom Day, simply by the huge number of local summer events – especially for children – that have been announced in the last weeks.
There are plenty of kids’ workshops; and it’s wonderful to see that the annual Draycott St Margaret’s Fayre is returning after its year away.

Check out all the events by having a look at our What’s On page.
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Local History gets a boost

Anyone interested in the history of this area will be excited to see the creation of a dedicated local ‘History Lab’. This has been formed in order to start researching the history of a block of seven parishes in the Eastern (Uttoxeter) part of Staffordshire: Draycott-in-the-Moors, plus Checkley, Gratwich, Kingstone, Uttoxeter, Bramshall, and Leigh..

Old map of the East Staffs parishes, showing turnpike roads, old rail lines

It’s run by volunteers, who report their researches into the professional historians at the VCH (Victoria County History) organisation. The group has already been publishing some of its findings in a blog, though none have been directly about Draycott as yet.
If you fancy helping out, simply write to them via their ‘Contact’ page.
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Second ‘solar’ farm

The process toward setting up a second solar farm in our district is now underway. Basically, the company behind it, called Third Revolution, want to take a few fields in Totmonslow in which to set up an array of hundreds of so-called ‘fins’, which absorb sunlight and turn it into electricity.

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

The new set-up, if it comes off, will be just yards away from the one we have already in Lower Newton, which has been running successfully for ten years.

Site of proposed new Totmonslow solar farm, in red. The current solar farm is in light green, just the other side of the A50

The application in process at the moment is a preliminary one, not the main thing – but already there are a couple of worries, mostly about whether footpaths will have to be diverted.

Our own Draycott Council was asked by the local authorities to add their comments on the matter, but… guess what? The council had no thoughts whatsoever… as so often… Sigh.
(We do need new councillors…!)

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Tidy churchyard

Cresswellians will have noticed that, since the winter, the historic churchyard at St Mary’s Catholic Church has been looking very tidy and spruce. The man behind the transformation is local man James Heath.

Although St Margaret’s churchyard is cared for by Staffs Moorlands Council workers – because it is the main parish church -, other denominations, such as St Mary’s, must look after their grounds themselves. So James, helped by his dad, has stepped up to do the work, and six months of labour has really seen a change for the better.

Cresswell churchyard – looking spruce

Local historians are especially pleased, because James has cleared back a lot of the vegetation that was hiding the inscriptions on some gravestones, and which had virtually hidden some graves altogether!

If you do pass by, it’s worth dropping in to have a look.
While you’re there, check out the graveyard cross: this is a listed monument, designed by the famous nineteenth-century architect Augustus Pugin.

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NEWS: Covid hotspot / green belt puzzle / Rev writes book / odd wreaths

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-November 2020
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Covid problems / Rev Whittaker new book / wreaths on junction? / planning in green belt….

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

As we all should know, this month our neighbourhood suddenly found itself to be a Covid hotspot. Blythe Bridge And District – which includes us in Draycott – hit the news as being the worst-hit area in all North Staffordshire, with infection rates double the national average. How this little district managed to become such a Covid problem is unclear.

Of course, like all statistics, these figures are actually a little misleading, because they represent only a snapshot of a moment in time, and current deaths are not as high as in May, so we shouldn’t panic: and, what’s more, this week, thanks to lockdown, the figures are dropping.
But — it’s a definite warning to us. We surely need to stick to the guidelines as best as we can to try to force the figures down or we could be a hotspot for a long time.
(For the big picture, see BBC News Covid Figures Updates).

At the same time, there is one big moral problem in front of us: should we report neighbours who break the rules?
Many people believe we should, and Moorlands Police alone are currently receiving around 400 calls a week from dutiful citizens reporting breaches.
But for others, it feels very uncomfortable to be reporting on neighbours.
What do you think? Use our comments box at the bottom of this page if you have thoughts.

Meanwhile, if you observe a breach and you feel you need to report it, the police ask you not to call 101, but use their online Covid Rules-Breaking reporting form.
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Wreaths in odd places

We’ve had a couple of emails asking us about what is going on with the Remembrance wreaths on Draycott crossroads. Wreaths from Staffs County and Draycott Council have been tied to the bench there. It does seem almost disrespectful just to leave them on a road junction.

The question then is: why haven’t the wreaths been laid at St Margaret’s Church, where the village war memorial is, or by the war graves in Cresswell churchyard?

The answer is, apparently, that the rather lonely small tree at that spot is Draycott Council’s effort at a memorial to those lost in the Great War. The tree was the village council’s contribution to a national project back in 2014 to remember the war’s 100th anniversary. (Some of us thought that, as part of a national project, this tree was, er, a bit underwhelming… but there you go).
In fact, the village council has only half-completed the project; six years later, the plaque that was supposed to explain the tree’s presence has still not been commissioned, which seems very slack.

Be that as it may, our personal feeling is that wreathes should be laid at a ‘sacred space’, not at a road junction. What was the British Legion’s view, we wonder?
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Brian’s book

Many of us will remember the Reverend Brian Whittaker (see pic right) with affection. He was rector at St Margaret’s for fifteen years up to 2005, and also a councillor for this area. In fact he still performs occasional duties at the church even though he is now retired.

He has now become a published author with a book called ‘Jesus and The Gentiles’, in which Brian wants to refute the idea that Jesus was aiming his preaching primarily to Jews, and only secondly to Gentiles (Gentiles are anyone who is not Jewish). Such a description makes it sound a little heavy on theology, but we’re told that it is in fact very readable.
At just £1, it might make a nice Xmas stocking-filler for a Christian friend…
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Green belt paradox

There is more green belt in Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow than people think – and it was a green belt issue in Totmonslow that caused a planning puzzle earlier this month.

At a property there, the owner (who is the local councillor, Mark Deaville) put in an application for a kitchen extension. As ‘NPPF Green Belt’ rules apply to this part of Totmonslow, it probably wouldn’t have been passed – but as the applicant pointed out, if he built a much larger extension, that that would be allowed (under ‘General Permitted Development Order’ rules)…! Very paradoxical.
So, the planning committee at Staffs Moorlands decided to let Mr Deaville have the smaller extension, even though it was ‘against the NPPF rules’, as that would be less intrusive than any potential large extension.
Strange but true!

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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: Covid rises / Remembrance Day / pumpkin fest / MP’s silence

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late October 2020
In this post we have news of…: bad local figures for Covid / Remembrance will happen / pumpkins across Draycott / silence from MP over planning….

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


Covid latest

As we all know, the pandemic has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and unfortunately our area (Staffordshire Moorlands) is one of those with a fast-rising rate of cases – see graph below. (For the big picture, see BBC News Covid Figures Updates).

Last week, the Moorlands figure was 209 cases per week per 100,000 people – which compares badly with a national figure of just 123. (Stoke-on-Trent was 234, and Manchester 470). Yes, we are in the orange blob next to Stoke on the map below.
Even though Stoke is not that far ahead of us, the city has just been put into Level High (Tier 2).

Moorlands map Covid mid October 2020

It’s really not clear why we are entering a red zone; around us, neighbouring regions – Derbyshire, Stafford, Uttoxeter etc – are doing much better. Of course, we won’t know the reality of the situation for another fortnight, which is when infections may (or may not) turn into crippling illness.

The point is: Draycott may feel like a sleepy outpost sometimes, but – without panicking – we now need to be extra careful.
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Remembrance goes ahead

Poppies may be on sale already, but there had been Covid-related fears that the main Remembrance Sunday event in our area would have to be cancelled.
Thankfully, it will go ahead after all – but … with no parade.

In most years, the British Legion branch takes part in a parade through Blythe Bridge to the war memorial by St Peter’s Church. That’s not happening this year.
However, those who wish to can lay a commemorative wreath at 11am on the day, Sunday 8th November, although the council would prefer the occasion to be supervised – if you want to lay a wreath, please email Forsbrook Viilage Council for advice. As it’s outside, observers can attend, but in well-distanced groups (of no more than six apiece).
STOP PRESS (AS OF 31/10/2020 – Because of the lockdown starting midnight on Wednesday 4th Nov, not only is our local Remembrance Parade (due Nov 8th) cancelled, but now so too is the wreath-laying at the war memorial in Forsbrook

At St Margaret’s in Draycott, a separate service will start at 10.30am (led by Rev Sam Crossley and lay-preacher Cllr Kate Bradshaw) and there will be a two-minutes silence at 11am. The leading bellringer at St M’s, John Clarke, will sound the bells either side of the silence.
But… to be present in the church for this, you MUST prebook your space, via admin@stmargarets.org.uk. Anyone can be present outside the church, of course.

On the day, there has usually also been a Blessing Of the War Graves at St Mary’s Cresswell. However, at the time of writing, it’s not clear if this will go ahead.
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Speak up Bill!

There are now only a few days left before end of the public consultation process concerning the Conservative government’s drive to change the planning laws. Depending on your point of view, the government’s ideas are virtually a free-pass for developers or a way of speeding up an inefficient system.

What’s for sure is that many of the government’s own supporters, including Tory councillors in our own area, are deeply unhappy. Even Tory MPs have been speaking out and campaigning against the new proposals.
Except…it seems… Sir Bill Cash, our local (Conservative) MP.

Less than ten years ago, Bill wrote a famous article in which he asked: why are MPs silent over planning?

Bill Cash planning article, 2011

He lambasted his fellow MPs for not speaking out as housing developments were being laid out across large swathes of greenfield land.
So you’d think that Bill would have quite a lot to say now, because both Draycott (which faces around 500 new homes in the next ten years) and Cheadle (which he also represents) contemplate massive increases in development.
But… we’ve heard nothing. Many of us would welcome his views, so c’mon Bill – say something!

If you do want to take part in the public consultation on the government’s white paper ‘Planning For The Future’ you have until October 29th; click here to see the details.

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Life goes on

To end on a happy note… Walking round Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow you may notice many pumpkins on display on people’s fronts. What you are seeing is the Draycott Pumpkin Fest, which runs until Nov 2nd.It’s all the brainchild of local resident Lee Warburton (who also put together the village planters project) and he’s been using the village facebook page to explain the idea. But, in essence, it’s simple enough – decorate a pumpkin (real or artificial, doesn’t matter) at your home, and then put it on show for the delight of those walking by.

Pumpkin Fest beauties in Cresswell Old Lane – thanks to Dave Cole

In these times, it’s great to have someone who can bring a little cheer, so … Happy Halloween, all…!

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

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

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Junction issue

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

Road map: A521 turning

Road map shows the sharp hairpin bend turning

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

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

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

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Recovery means … more homes

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

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

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

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites – Draycott on left

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

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Badgers update

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

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

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May they rest in peace

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

***
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: coronavirus teams / College plans / Facebook group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-March 2020
In this post we have news of…: coronavirus crisis volunteers scheme / Draycott College plans / Facebook proves its worth … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

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Coronavirus – neighbourhood teams?

A big thank you goes out to Kate Bradshaw and Denise Wheat.
In this difficult time, members of the village Facebook group were asking if an official ‘street coordinators’ team for Draycott-in-the-Moors – to ensure the vulnerable and elderly in each street get help – could be established.

Denise WheatUp stepped Kate, a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church and a Draycott village councillor, to respond to the challenge. She then recruited the village council clerk, Denise (see pic right); and now the two of them will work on the idea to see if a viable project can be established.

It’s not clear yet how volunteers will be vetted – but, then, let’s get the volunteers first! If you think you can help the project, in any way, email Denise.

Meanwhile, our local library centre at Blythe may be closed, but it too is contributing.  It has created a ‘phone-buddies’ system, and its volunteers have been re-deployed to run the project. Well done to Helen and her team for thinking so quickly.  For more details, click here.

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Facebook

Facebook gets slagged off a lot, and, yes, there is a lot of nonsense, as well as too many trolls, on there, but a time like this, it really is proving an amazing resource for communities.

If you want to know what’s going on, and the latest updates for our neighbourhood, the Draycott village group page has been terrific. Residents have been swapping really useful facts, and supporting each other.
No less so the neighbouring facebook groups of Checkley & District Community Group, the Tean Community Group, the Fulford Village group, and the Blythe Bridge Group.
It’s worth just checking in with these pages just to keep up to date with how the Covid-19 coronavirus is affecting our locality.

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Draycott College plans

It looks like one of the places that will be affected by the virus is Draycott Moor College, the school for children who have the sorts of issues that mean they cannot go to regular school. It is likely to follow government advice but is unlikely to close because it looks after children of emergency workers.

Before lockdown could kick in though, the head-teacher Gail Norrie did present herself for residents’ questions at a college consultation event last week.
The school intends to expand from around 35 pupils to just over 50 (of all ages); and needs to build on extra accommodation.

One issue that neighbours worried about, which is all the extra traffic there might be, is partly dealt with by the fact that cars will now be able to drive into the college and pick up from round the back, instead of queuing up on Draycott Old Road.
Some residents who are concerned about heritage issues asked if the old frontage, dating back to when it was the village’s primary school, would be affected. No, said Gail, the frontage will be left as it is.

The planning application for the new buildings will probably go to the Staffs Moorlands Planning Department by the end of this month.

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Nature

Meanwhile, despite the problems in the human world, Nature just carries on, doesn’t it? Thank goodness.

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

The blossoms and the spring flowers in Draycott and environs are really looking stunning.

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

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

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

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Councillors do … nothing

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

St Modwen Blythe Fields estate brochure cover

Blythe Fields estate brochure – cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will the flooding experience be ignored?

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

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

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

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

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Draycott – speeding hotspot

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

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

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

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Goodnight Izaak

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

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

***
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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 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

Development for Draycott now even bigger

Well, we didn’t expect any different did we – really?
The proposal to expand the number of houses on the forthcoming Blythe Vale/Fields development site (on Draycott level, at the roundabout ) passed the Moorlands Council Planning Committee very easily.  All the councillors on the committee voted in favour.
In fact, they loved it – because it all helps with their regional quotas…

This proposal was to expand the original number of dwellings planned for the site by a very large amount – almost 25% (meaning obviously a proportionate rise in population). Predictions are that the estate will now hold around 400 people.
This new plan squeezes in more homes on the site – meaning incidentally that even more of the new houses will be close to the A50 highway.

St Modwen Vale plan leaflet

Blythe Vale-Fields. Now up from 118 homes to 146.  The A50 is on the left in this diagram; the Draycott level road at the top

Now, you’d think all this would be controversial, and worth a deep debate, wouldn’t you?
Nope. The whole thing seemed done & dusted even before it started.
You can see for yourself: the webcast-video of the committee in action (the whole item only lasts just over 15 minutes) is online, and can be seen by clicking here and then clicking on ‘Item 7’.

No representation

You’d think too that someone from our own Draycott village council, or from next-door Forsbrook Council (it’s illogical, but they share the issues relating to this site with us), would turn up to speak about this issue at this meeting, wouldn’t you?
But… no, they didn’t.

The only person from Draycott who turned up to speak was resident Paul Meredith, who lives down the slope from the coming estate. But his comments were brushed aside.

Lack of interest

Poor Draycottians! There has been virtually no one speaking up for them. (In fact there were barely any comments on the official feedback website about these plans).
And, despite being asked for their full thoughts, Draycott Council instead had submitted a rather feeble opinion about possible traffic issues. (As it turned out, Staffordshire Highways experts thought the traffic aspect was so insignificant that they didn’t even bother submitting a comment about it).

But let’s not just criticise Draycott Council for their lack of interest.
Our local Moorlands District councillors remained silent; and Forsbrook Council (much of the site is within their boundaries) didn’t even bother with any feedback at all!

Get used to it

Including the development at Cresswell, the population of our district is about to increase by a massive 50% – yet our politicians just say… zilch.

And… not to be too depressing … there is even more housing development in the pipeline for our little area during the next ten years, even after this current phase of double-development.

All this really does show why we need to elect new, more capable councillors. The current lot may be nice people – but they just aren’t up to the job.

***
Want to comment on any of the thoughts 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: crash inquest / verge parking / register your vote / Sandon Rd spat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2019
In this post we have news of…:  inquest results for road crash / parking on verges to be illegal? / are you registered to vote? / Sandon Road planning spat… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including choir concert…  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

_ _ _
Fatalities were avoidable

So, at last, we know something of the circumstances which led to the sad death of Becky Smith and her child Corey. The two died in a road accident on Draycott level last August, but the coroner’s inquest has only just taken place.
It is a very sad story indeed, as it indicates that these deaths were probably quite avoidable.Draycott Road accident Aug 2018
According to witnesses to the court, including the one child survivor of the accident, Becky was ‘foaming and shaking at the wheel’. This means that she was probably suffering an epileptic fit as she was driving. In fact, Becky had indeed been diagnosed epileptic – but she had not informed the DVLA; and ‘active’ epileptics are not allowed a driving licence.
Investigators revealed that the toddlers in the car were not using booster seats.
And medical evidence revealed Becky was over the driving limit for cannabis.

A sad list of three avoidable factors… which just go to show that the rules are there for a reason.
Thank goodness that the driver of the other vehicle in the crash was not badly hurt.

One silver lining to this terrible dark cloud is that the accident was not caused by speeding, as many residents had feared.
In fact, we now know that two out of the three fatal accidents in the last year in Draycott were actually down to other reasons, not speeding.
The third fatality, that of motorcyclist Martin Barker in January, has yet to come before an inquest.

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Ready for the elections?

If you want to take part in the forthcoming Draycott Village Council elections, you must ensure you are registered to vote within the next weeks.

There are very few qualifying conditions to get a vote, so don’t let that put you off.

If you can’t remember if you are already registered, you will have to go to a local office and check the electoral register.
If it turns out that you are not already registered, it’s very easy to register in time. Click here to learn more about how to do it.

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Parking on pavements – for and against….

An interesting post & photo appeared recently on the village Facebook page which read:
“Can I ask that whoever keeps parking on the pavement on Uttox Rd looks at this photo and realises that Pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and those with mobility aids cannot get past due to the car parked on the pavement and the car behind it.”verge parking pn Uttoxeter Rd
The problem of parking on pavements/verges in Draycott is not a new one.

Over four years ago, Draycott village council was dealing with complaints from motorists trying to pull out from side-roads (e.g. Stuart Avenue) who were finding it difficult, as verge-parked cars were blocking their line of sight.
But the council simply followed the legal line: “…it is not illegal to park on verges though it is illegal to obscure the vision of other vehicles. Residents are advised to call the police when this is the case”.
But there is also the fact that the grass verges were designed to be part of the attractive presentation of the village; and a run of churned-up, muddy verges goes against that vision.  So the village council does need to be pro-active, not just stand back from the issue.

Since then some householders have got so fed up, they’ve applied to the Staffordshire Highways Team to have white posts installed on their verges to stop the errant verge-parkers…

White posts on Sandon Road

White posts on Sandon Road

Yet… there is after all the other side of the coin.
Some motorists do deliberately half-park on pavements in narrow side-streets, as an act of courtesy, because they are just kindly trying to make room for others – especially around the corners of bends, where it is (actually) quite considerate.
Some park on pavements & verges because they are sick of getting their wing-mirrors clipped by passing cars driving too close!
However, there is no ‘right’ by a householder to park on pavements, even ones outside their own home.

Some residents have cleverly through through this issue and re-designed the front yards of their houses as two or even three-car parking lots. This also means they get a discount on car-insurance, as all the family’s cars can be accommodated in a ‘driveway’ (driveway parking gets a discount in car insurance).

But it is a growing issue – because more and more families are owning more and more vehicles.
It is so problematic that local councils in Staffordshire are set to follow the example laid down in London, where parking on pavements or verges is strictly illegal.
(As you might guess, the British Parking Association has even launched a ‘Positive Parking’ campaign to push the idea).
Even our local council here in the Moorlands region is considering the idea.

But …. what do you think?
Have a look at the comments on this subject (just scroll further down this page), and use our Comments box there to let us hear your thoughts too.

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Construction at Blythe Park…  without the roundabout?

Never a month goes by in our district without a new planning story!
This month, we learn that the period of public consultation about the latest situation concerning the access road onto Blythe Park in Cresswell has been extended, from March 6th to March 27th. No one knows why really.
However, the extra time limit could have been given because the developers have had a bit of a slap from the Highways authority.

The developers want to forget building a promised roundabout for now, and continue to use the current access road on to the business park.
But, in responding to the developer’s application last month, Simon Haw, head of Staffordshire Highways, pointed out the lack of traffic-forecast information in this plan – meaning he was minded to object to the application.
This is not good news for the developers, so maybe they need the extra time to scramble around and get such information sorted.

In the meantime, a group of local residents have added their objections to the plan too. They have written up their feelings in a formal letter which has been submitted to the Planning Committee.
See the letter by clicking here.

***
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)