Category Archives: planning

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

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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)

NEWS: HGV lane / balloon drops / photos needed / sad war memorial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  lane approved for HGVs / balloon drops on Cresswell / sad saga of war memorial / appeal for photographers… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a first-aid course…  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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Lane approved for construction traffic

As we suspected, the application by the St Modwen developers to use Woodlands Lane (at the furthermost west end of Draycott, by Chandni Cottage) as a ‘haulage road’ for its construction lorries was approved without a hitch by the Moorlands Planning Committee.
The lane will now see dozens of lorries going along it while the building of the new Blythe Vale estate takes place. The building phase will take about two years.
Some residents did their best to oppose the plans, but their concerns were put to one side. (See objections one, two, and three).

St Modwen haulage road application

The lane will take construction traffic while the new main access road to the estate is being built

What is odd is that these objectors got no formal support from Draycott Council. Our councillors publicly said they opposed the plans – but, strangely, these same councillors did not register a formal complaint on the relevant planning-page as they could have.

Why not?
Unbelievably… it turns out that councillors were ‘unaware’ that they could register a comment.
Really, this is not good enough. They should know that they can comment. We have a right to expect more of our council….
The current crop of members on Draycott Council are, we know, good and honest people – but they don’t seem to understand how the modern world works, or how to represent their district properly in this 21st century.

In fact, as it happens, all the current members are standing down at the forthcoming elections, which take place in May… and so it is an ideal time for fresh blood to come in.
Would YOU like to stand for election and take a place on the council? Check out this guide on how to do it.

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Funny thing happened….

A walk in the country is usually a quiet affair… but last week some of us went for a walk along the public track behind Blythe Business Park, when we saw a balloon come drifting down to land in a nearby field.
It landed quite softly and no one was harmed, but obviously it was not a planned landing…

 

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Then slowly, in front of us, just behind the rise in the ground, the balloon just deflated…
You don’t see that too often.

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Calling local photographers

Lydia Hooley, the Staffordshire Police’s Community Engagement Officer, has contacted us to ask if we can put out an alert to friendly photographers.

Lydia is putting together a new ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ website and is looking for photographs that represent Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow. These should be pictures of recognisably local features, such as our scenery, monuments or ‘landmarks’.

Send your snaps to nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk, and – who knows? – it could be your photo that goes on to represent Draycott and/or surrounding hamlets on the “localities page” of the new website.

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Sorry memorial project

The ongoing saga of Draycott’s WW1 Anniversary project is not a happy one.

Nearly all other parish councils across the country responded to the anniversary of the First World War Armistice 100th Anniversary last year by organising wonderful projects and creating permanent reminders of that fateful day a century ago.

Fulford War Memorial Staffs

Fulford War Memorial

For example, in next-door Fulford, the local council worked with the village community group to ensure the anniversary would be remembered for a long time, by raising over £7000 to renovate the village’s old war memorial. (see pic right)

However, here in Draycott, our council dithered.
Eventually, virtually at the last minute, one councillor got a young yew from his own garden; and the council got permission to plant it in St Margaret’s churchyard.
Unfortunately, not all the families with loved ones resting there in the churchyard had been consulted, and some disliked this ‘intrusion’ – and objected, going to the diocese authorities. (The council also hadn’t got around to ordering a plaque to explain what the plant was doing there).
And, suddenly, a few weeks ago, some vandal uprooted it and chucked it in a bin – from which it had to be rescued.

Yew tree memorial

The yew memorial is now abandoned at the far end of the churchyard

It’s a bit of an undignified tale.

Surely, Draycott councillors simply needed to get their act together well before the anniversary, and plan out a proper and fitting memorial project.
But they didn’t.

No one seems to know quite what will happen next.

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

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

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

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

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

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

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Fatality on Draycott Level

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

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

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

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

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Another year, another planning application

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

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

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

Exit from blythe vale

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

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

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

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Five-star food!

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

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

Golden Keg staff had a stall at the 2018 Draycott Fayre

Congratulations to them!!

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Fancy some casual outdoor work? For money?

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

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

Pavement encroachment, dec 18

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

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

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

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

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

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

NEWS: developers’ dates / jail term / more b&b / have a hall party!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Nov 2018
In this post we have news of…: development set to heat up / jail for Draycott racist /  church hall party venue / Arms set to be an Inn …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Turkey and Tinsel Dinner Dance…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
Construction to start in 2019

After years of being on tenterhooks, it now looks like it will be early next year that we will be experiencing the expected development construction round here.

As regards the Blythe Park expansion in Cresswell, the local community-action group (VVSM) did their best again to slow down the process for more appraisal, as they have successfully done in the past, but this time they could not persuade the powers-that-be.

Propsed Blythe B Park link road

Cresswell plan. The diagonal thick blue line is the railway. The red lines are the roundabout and new link road across the business park – the fat red space on the right is the new warehouse to come. The blue line is the boundary of the whole development site (pic from SMDC Planning Website)

The proposal for a roundabout & link-road & giant warehouse was passed by the Staffs Moorlands Council last week. (Check out the details here).
What this means is that 2019 will be a year of lots of traffic disruption in Cresswell while the roundabout is constructed.

Meanwhile, the other huge development in Draycott area is the one next to the A50 roundabout – the coming ‘Blythe Vale’ housing estate.
The developers in this instance, St Modwen, are so anxious to press on with starting preliminary construction works that they have put in an application to use Woodlands Lane as a temporary construction-vehicles road as soon as possible. (Woodlands Lane is the unmade road that starts by the Chandni Cottage restaurant).
If they get permission for that – (BB & Forsbrook councillors have already okayed it, but Draycott Council has not yet discussed it) – work on the site will start early next year.

So… the year 2019 will see lots of construction & lots of construction vehicles in our neighbourhood.  Sigh.

The final piece of planning news is that the application for houses to be built on the north side of the railway line in Cresswell (on Railway Cottages Lane) has been turned down.
The SMDC planning department said it would be incorrect to allow development such as this in a quiet spot such as Cresswell.  Erm… they clearly had – erm – forgotten (?) about the massive housing estate about to be built just 200 yards away!
It honestly makes you wonder if planning department’s left hand knows what the right hand is doing…

_ _ _
Xmas parties anyone?

We had the pleasure of having a good look round the Draycott Church Hall the other day. The refurbishments are now all pretty much done, and it’s a credit to everyone involved.
The heating is all up to date, and new insulated fire-proof curtains keep the heat in. The kitchen, and the toilet, have been renovated and the whole interior looks bright and airy. Even the lighting has been renovated – there is bright lighting, for meetings, and low light, for parties.Draycott Church hall interiorDespite the difficulties of the access road, which has a number of potholes, the numbers of groups using the hall have increased as a result.
So… the hall is now open for even more business!

It would be an ideal venue for a family gathering (there is even a ‘secure garden’ out back for the kids to play in) and the floor is a smooth wood, ideal for a little waltzing (or more energetic styles)!
Sixty is about the maximum number it can comfortably hold, but it still looks full with just thirty. There is parking for forty cars.
If you’re looking for a ‘happy place’ for your Christmas gathering, why not check it out?
(For costs and contact details, click here).

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Beds & Breakfast galore

Congratulations to Zara and Brayn at The Draycott Arms, who heard last week that their application to create new b&b accommodation has been passed – so they are now all set to get started on the renovation…
Thus, sometime next year, The Draycott Arms (should it now be called The Draycott Inn??!) will be able to offer four B&B rooms.
Zara & Brayn are a hard-working young couple with great ambitions for this village – so we think it’s great news.

Hilltop Farm Barns signThe Draycott Arms is not far from Hilltop Farm Barns, where Nola and Bill run the other Draycott accommodation.
The farm has its large Horseshoe Cottage for hire as a self-catering holiday home; it has three bedrooms and so comfortably sleeps 6 people.
In fact, if you fancy a peek at Horseshoe, Nola & Bill are holding their annual Christmas Get-Together Morning in a few weeks’ time (see What’s On page for details). The event raises money for repairs at St Margaret’s Church, and all are welcome.

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Jail term for racist

Finally, a disturbing thought.
Some of us were quite shocked last month when a Draycott resident, Barbara Fielding-Morriss, got a one-year jail term for ‘inciting racial hatred’.  Ms Fielding Morris, who once stood for election as an MP, expressed her unpleasant views about Jews in her writings and publicity.

At first, twelve months in jail seemed an excessively harsh sentence for a 79-year old lady, whom many of us just viewed (frankly) as a bit of a crank.
But, talking about it in the local pub, it was brought home to us that words can be as dangerous as anything else, because they inspire others to do harm.
What happened was that someone at the bar reminded us that, only last month, a man with a gun had attacked a Jewish congregation in America, killing eleven people, shouting that he hated Jews.
To most of us, racism just seems barmy, so we often don’t take any racist views we hear very seriously – but, as this case demonstrates, the courts rather think we should.

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

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

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

NEWS: sporting success / Local Plan inquiry / councillor vacancy / History Day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-Sept 2018
In this post we have news of…: successful summer of sport / vacancy on Draycott Council / Local Plan inquiry to start / Church history day / A50 closed for weekend   …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a WW1 Evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Sporting summer

By any standards it has been a good summer of sport in Draycott&Cresswell. The cricket club led the way, but there was good news all round for our sportsmen and women.

Blythe Cricket Club’s First XI (based in Cresswell) surprised all the pundits with a hugely impressive first season in the NSCCL top division.
Despite being newly promoted, they ran neck and neck with the leaders right up until the last month, putting up some stunning performances. Even the last day of the season was a nail-biter – being an away match at local rivals Checkley for the honour of securing third place in the league… but captain Peter Finch and his boys overcame that hurdle, to cap a great run.
Well done to them – and there is a bonus, in the fact that the greatly experienced overseas player in the team, Jalat Khan, has settled in so well this season that he’s agreed to rejoin Blythe next year too.

At the Draycott Sports Centre, the men’s tennis side had an average season by their standards, but the actual sports centre itself has gone from strength to strength with the recent opening of a completely refurbished new gym (see pic below).
There are lots of offers on at the moment, so remember – you can now stay fit in comfort even when the weather turns lousy!

Fitness Club spinning bikes

The green-bowls side based in Cresswell (Checkley A), like Blythe CC, finished high up their division, ending the season as runners-up. After an indifferent first half of the summer, they raced through the second half with an amazing six wins from seven… !

Well done to all…

_ _ _
Councillor needed

Even though Councillor Steve Jones only died last month, process grinds on; and already Draycott Council is advertising the vacancy. Seems hard to be so quick at it, but it’s a legal requirement.

However, it’s not so simple as just holding an election.
For community councils like Draycott, an election has ‘to be called’ first, which means that ten people (who must all be on the local electoral register) must sign a document to say that they want an election.

The alternative is that the existing councillors will simply decide among themselves who should fill the spot (this is called ‘co-option’).
Usually ten electors would ‘call’ an election because they don’t trust their current councillors to make an intelligent or an unbiased co-option.

The notice-of-vacancy has now been published (see Draycott PC Website), and the deadline for an election to be ‘called’ is October 1st.

If you’re wondering what the requirements to be a village councillor are, and what the tasks entail, click here

_ _ _
Local Plan

It has now been announced that the formal inquiry into the ‘final’ version of the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan will get underway in the first week of October.
[The ‘Local Plan’ is the framework for what will happen, planning-wise, in this Moorlands region over the next decade and more.]

Members of the Draycott community action-group, VVSM, have applied to address the inquiry, but it all depends on whether they get an invite – and that is in the lap of the gods. (See the article: VVSM hopes…)
They want to protest at the fact that 300 homes are to be built over the next five years in this small area, not to mention that there will be a large escalation of industrial factories. The Local Plan also sets out space for even further development in Draycott!

Our own local Draycott Council did not actually make a response to the final draft of the Local Plan (no one seems to know why!), so there is no chance of a representative from them being invited to speak, despite the massive issues facing our village.
One of the issues that should have been addressed by our council is the odd way that the planners are trying to change the ‘settlement boundaries’ around us. It looks like part of what was within the Draycott Settlement-Area appears to be being shifted into the new Blythe Bridge settlement area. Now, why is that happening?

_ _ _
750 counting down

The celebrations for the 750th anniversary of St Margaret’s Church are hotting up: with the announcement that there is to be a History Day, during which the ways the church has been central to how this village’s growth since the thirteenth century will be outlined.
The event takes place on October 20th.

Draycott tomb ornament

This rose ornament seen here on an ancient tomb in the church was an heirloom worn by the women of the Draycott family down the years

Signed up to lead the day will be our two most prominent local historians – Matthew Pointon (who wrote the definitive book of the history of this area) and Lev Wood, the ‘face’ of the local history society.
We’ll bring you the details as they transpire.

Lev also has hit the limelight in a second way. Everyone who attended the Draycott Fayre this year will have seen his amazing World War One re-enactment complete with trench dug-out.
Well, Lev is also the man who has been credited with re-discovering an amazing, huge canvas on which is painted lots of scenes of battles from the Great War. It was painted by soldiers of the North Staffordshire Regiment, many of whom were recuperating from wounds themselves. It has a sad thrust though – along its base are listed over 900 names of the men’s comrades who had died in the conflict.
Click here for all the details.

This banner was stored away from sight for decades just decaying, but is now somewhat restored, and part of it can be seen in the special WW1 exhibition currently on at the Potteries Museum.
The exhibition is on there until November 11th, and includes other artefacts too, and it really is worth getting along as soon as you can.

_ _ _
Finally … (but not totally finally…)

Don’t forget… the A50 is completely closed – in both directions – from Blythe Bridge roundabout to Uttoxeter from 8pm on Friday 28 September through until 5.30am on Monday 1st October.

A50 stretch

The bridge that stands there at the moment (by the JCB factory) should be fully demolished by the end of the weekend; and the adjacent new bridge finally up and working fully – so you’d think that that would finally be an end of the ‘A50-Growth-Corridor’ roadworks, wouldn’t you?
But, we’re told it won’t be. We can expect more disruption on the Uttoxeter end of the A522 until the end of the year.

***
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

Planning; planning; no-plan

We have updates about: the Blythe Vale site at eastern Draycott; the coming roundabout in Cresswell and its nearby pinch-point; a completely new application for housing in Cresswell; and the death of the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan.

Some developers are very clever… They go into a flurry of activity in the summer months, knowing that potential protesters are busy with holidays etc and that August is often a month-off for councillors and MPs.
So…. yep… lots about planning in this post!

Blythe Vale

The proposed housing estate up on the ridge, which will overlook Uttoxeter Road on Draycott Level, is a done deal and will happen, so all that’s left now is to sort out the infrastructure – the roadways, drainage etc.
Sure enough, an infrastructure application has now been submitted at SMDC’s planning offices. It seems that the roadway coming down off the ridge will emerge near the Chandni Cottage restaurant, onto that bit of dual carriageway. The developers (naturally enough) reckon it won’t affect traffic flow.

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

The Blythe Vale site – the current Draycott development is the red-ringed site on left

Conservationists will also be interested to see how the developers St Modwen) have proposed handling the newts and other wildlife on the site; and which trees they intend to remove.

If you have thoughts, you are invited to put them in, using the online comments page. You have until the 15th August.

Preliminary work on the site – surveying etc – starts this weekend.

– – –
Cresswell roundabout

The plans for the roundabout at Cresswell seem to have hit an unknown buffer. They were supposed to go before the SMDC Planning Committee as long ago as Easter, but they keep being deferred – and no one really knows why.
One of our district councillors, Dave Trigger, gave a little talk a few weeks ago about the pros & cons of the roundabout plan, and he said he could see no particular problem with it (click here to see what Dave said) – so what’s holding the plan up?

One rumour is that the developers have not yet come up with a suitable way to help out the bat population that will be disturbed.
Another rumour is that the issue is the so-called pinch point (where the road narrows to a tight squeeze) up the hill past the Izaak. The original 2015 application promised that a pedestrian path would be installed here, but we’ve heard nothing since.
Yes, the owners of Izaak Walton Farm have now moved their wall back from the edge of the road (thus enabling a small green path alongside it for pedestrians), but, even so, a few yards of the road further up still have no pavement.

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Maybe this is the sticking point…?

– – –
Houses by the railway?

The summer has produced its usual crop of planning applications – including one for eight houses at Cresswell.
If you know Cresswell, you’ll know the unmade road off Cresswell Old Lane that leads up to some old Victorian terraced houses (called Railway Cottages). The proposed houses would be built along this unmade lane, with the railway at their backs.

The fact is that the current Moorlands Local Plan does stipulate that Draycott & Cresswell should take another ten houses on top of the Blythe Vale and Blythe Park developments – so this application would indeed fit Local Plan requirements.
(It had been supposed that the required extra houses would eventually be built on the big field on Uttoxeter Road – the one between the church and the Draycott Arms -, but maybe not, after all).

But… there is no barrier stopping the public from going on to the line at that point.  Is this really a safe place to build homes?
If you have thoughts on this application you have until 22nd August to submit them (see the application Comments Page).

– – –
Neighbourhood Plan, not…

Our local community council, Draycott Parish Council, doesn’t inspire confidence at the best of times but it reached a new low with the collapse of its ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ process.

The government has been encouraging villages and small communities to adopt ‘neighbourhood plans’ as a way of indicating how they want their futures to be. They carry some weight in law, and it’s one way to help stop inappropriate developments.
Parish councils are responsible for watching over their adoption process.

Back in 2015, the newly-elected Draycott councillor, Jacquie Leach, put some work & effort into kick-starting an NP for Draycott on the council’s behalf (though she stepped down from the council in 2016 due to personal issues and so did not finish the work).
Since then however Draycott Council has seemed barely interested.

The council applied for a grant of £3000 last year, but the money had to be returned a few months ago – because not one penny of it had been spent…!
Just as embarrassingly, the council recently announced on its website that it would be holding a Neighbourhood Plan roadshow-stall at this year’s Draycott Fayre – but no such thing appeared.
When councillors were asked what happened – blank faces! It turned out that they had forgotten to get someone to organise it; and that none of the councillors had been particularly appointed to be responsible anyway.

(Roll on the 2019 local elections…!)

checkley neighbourhood plan poster
The worst of this is that, more than any other community in the Moorlands, Draycott has been subject to one planning development after another, and really needs the safeguards that a Neighbourhood Plan can provide.
Meanwhile other nearby councils – such as Checkley & Tean (see above pic) and Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge – are cracking on with theirs, leaving Draycott far behind.

***
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: Local Plan / Armistice events / potholes!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2018
In this post we have news of…: Moorlands Local Plan / Armistice Day events / pothole misery …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a pop-jazz band evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Plan coming to conclusion

The latest draft of the Staffordshire Moorlands ‘Local Plan’ is now published,  and copies can be seen in libraries and on-line. This is the fifth draft, and, in effect, this is the last, as no more changes are likely outside of a massive surprise.

It only reveals what we already knew: that Draycott, in effect, will soon become an urban village, as part of a ribbon development with Blythe Bridge. Blythe Bridge’s village-boundary is even to be extended this way.
Previous protesting comments from local residents did not shake the planners’ resolve.

So… Draycott will see two new housing estates in the next couple of years. Two already have permission to go ahead – one of 168 homes at Cresswell, plus one of 118 homes bordering the A50 on a site behind Chandni Cottage (which will soon grow, to become 300 homes). Overall, 1500 homes are set to be built in the Blythe Bridge/Draycott/Caverswall ‘ribbon’ area over the next 15 years.
Plus… the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road already has outline permission for further housing & employment ‘opportunities’ in the near future.

As for employment sites, Blythe Park in Cresswell is set to be one of the biggest developments across the region. Our local community-action group VVSM are on record as saying that “… what this means is that ALL of Staffordshire Moorlands’ quota for required rural allocation of employment-sites is now to be found in … Cresswell ! What’s more, the expected Blythe Vale allocation, which will stretch from Blythe Bridge to Cresswell, could mean dozens of workshops and small factories being built on the land there on top of the ridge over the next twenty years. All this will change the face of this village.”
Residents in Cheadle Road will also note that a new employment park is also earmarked in the Plan, on a site off New Haden Road (just down from Draycott Cross).Moorlands Local Plan symbol
(What’s a little mysterious is that sections on traveller-site allocation haves been left out. Previous drafts had sites in Draycott and Cresswell strongly tipped, but this current draft is silent on the matter. Watch this space, as they say.)

This final draft is now open to consultation, but only for legal points – one can no longer challenge the locations or numbers of homes & employment sites.

So… what’s next? Staffordshire Moorlands Council will submit this Plan for approval to a government inquiry in the autumn.
And there you have the only real reason to comment on the current Plan – because anyone who does make a comment will also be offered the chance to put their case before the government inspector in the autumn – in fact this is the only way you can ‘qualify’ to take part in the inquiry. It seems a daft way to do it, but there it is.
So, yes, fireworks could start again in the autumn – but don’t count on it.

SEE: Staffs Moorlands Local Plan Spring 2018 Revision

– – –
Pothole misery

Once upon a time, a pothole in the roads was an unusual sight. Not any more.
In the 200 yards along Cresswell Lane, between the A50 flyover and Blythe Business Park, motorists now have at least five chances to crack their axles. Pothole in Cresswell Lane
This length of road is in such a poor state that, as soon as a pothole is repaired, it breaks up again.
Motorists who know this stretch play a dangerous game, of swerving round them.

The plague of local potholes came to a head during the recent snowfalls: if you can’t see a pothole, you can’t avoid it. One poor driver smacked into the huge, snow-covered pothole outside Grange Farm (on Cheadle Road) – and told us all that his van had to be off the road for over a week for repairs.
Residents attending a recent council meeting also complained of the pothole that has suddenly appeared outside Hilltop Farm on the road between the Draycott Arms and Totmonslow; cars swerving round that particular pothole (in a stretch where fast-moving traffic is prevalent), have already caused some real near-misses.

Responsibility for repairs falls to Staffordshire County’s Highways Department who are promising £5million to sort the issue, as of April. The county even has a dedicated Potholes Update webpage!
But, as far as we are thinking, the answer to it all is drive more slowly… the potholes are probably here to stay.

– – –
Armistice commemorations

It may seem a long way off, but in November the country will be remembering 100 years since the end of the First World War. A series of commemoration events across November 11th will look back at the day the nation emerged from all that misery.

Draycott is being invited to take part, as are all other parishes across the UK, by ringing its church bells in a ‘joyful peal’ in the evening on the day.
And the St Margaret’s Bell-Ringing group would welcome any new-comers who feel they could contribute. Recently the group has struggled a bit to find enough members, so volunteering to help them could be your way to take part in the Great-War Armistice Event Day.St Margaret's church in snow

Ring a bell at St Margaret’s!

Anyone can ring a church bell – but you do need some practice, so expressing your willingness is best done now or as soon as possible. Your man to contact is John Clarke, and he will tell you what’s what.

If you are interested more widely in how Staffordshire will remember Armistice Day, there is a free event taking place next Sunday (10th March) in Stafford – the Staffordshire Great-War Commemoration Conference – and all are welcome. If you have an idea, or just want to join in, this could be a meeting worth attending.

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

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

– – –
Car in fireball

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

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

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

– – –
Disappointment – with result, with council

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

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

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

– – –
Footpath maintenance under threat

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

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

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

– – –
Babies get balletic

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

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

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