Category Archives: property

NEWS: scarecrows / speeding / homes for sale / Old Lane restored

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2020
In this post we have news of…: scarecrow happiness / speeding on empty roads / historic homes for sale / Cresswell Old Lane is back!

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Scarecrow togetherness

Congratulations are due all round for the wonderful Draycott-in-the-Moors Scarecrow Festival  that took place across Draycott & Cresswell on the bank holiday weekend this month.
Nearly fifty households took part and there were some stunningly inventive and very humorous creations! Most importantly though, it brought people together.

Three people should be singled out though.
Chief among them is the main festival organiser Kate Bradshaw, who was tireless, despite the fact that she has plenty of other responsibilities.
Also, Helen Bickerton, who heads up the team at our local community-library centre at Blythe, deserves praise for stumping up the prizes, and taking part in a long day of judging.
And also Lee Warburton. Lee is basically the main man behind the village Facebook page, which has been so vital a lifeline during this current crisis, and it was he who collated the photo album of the festival. If you haven’t seen the album, click here and check out the brilliant entries.

Draycott Scarecrow 2020 First prize to Norman and Nella at 95 Uttoxeter Road

Scarecrow 2020 first prize to Norman and Nella on Uttoxeter Road

It’s not a coincidence that it is these same three individuals who have also pulled together the local Coronavirus volunteer support groups which have been working across the district to make sure no one who asks for help goes unaided.
Yes, each team’s individual volunteer plays their part and we shouldn’t forget that, but a big debt of gratitude is owed to these three in particular.
If they don’t each get a Certificate Of Thanks from the village council at the end of this year, then there’s no justice in this world.

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One scarecrow in the festival was about more than just fun, it was making an important point.
The empty roads of the last two months have, unfortunately, encouraged some complete idiots to treat some our long stretches as racetracks. Two long straight runs, one along Uttoxeter Road from Blythe roundabout and the one to the railway crossing in Cresswell, are both 40mph limits, but sometimes you wouldn’t have believed it.

This clever scarecrow (pic right) on Cresswell’s Sandon Road, with its silver foil speed-gun and frowning face, didn’t fool anybody of course, but let’s hope it made the idiots think, at least for a second.

In the meantime, we are still waiting for the two speed-warning signs which should have been up in Draycott by now. Nearly eighteen months ago, the village council were given £5000 by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership to purchase and erect them – but the project only limps along.

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Historic homes for sale

The recent easing of the restrictions on the property market means that three of our most interesting and historic homes are now properly back up for sale.

First: the old School House in Cresswell, which is so called because the Catholic church in the village maintained a small primary school on the site for many years.
Second:  Totmonslow Farm Cottage (seen from the back, right), which would once have belonged to the farm estate, but now it is separate.

Totmonslow Farm Cottage from the back

Totmonslow Farm Cottage, from the back

And then there is the 200 year-old Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell. It has been ‘dark’ for some time now, so it was no surprise when the brewery-owners sold it last year.
However the individual who bought it managed to get planning permission to re-develop it (with support from the village council) as a family home – which was a surprise, as it is Cresswell’s only ‘community asset’.
However, again, it is now back on the market, and goes to auction on June 1st.

Incidentally, it is hoped that the memorabilia from the Izaak (regulars will remember the old photos that used to line the walls, the old fish-figure weather-vane etc etc) might be saved for the village. The clerk of the village council, Denise Wheat, is on to the job – good luck Denise.

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Cresswell gets it right

Finally, the long-running saga of the road-sign on Cresswell Old Lane is over.
Some eight years ago, a keen-eyed resident noticed that the eastern half of Cresswell Old Lane was wrongly called ‘Cresswell Old Road, not just on Google Maps, but even on one of the official road-signs. And so he reported it to the authorities.
The details of this long-running saga to get the name corrected have been tiring and frustrating (even if a bit humorous at times!), but at last the sign has been corrected.

Cresswell Old Lane sign – right at last!

But… safe to say that the residents of Cresswell Old Lane can sleep sound in their beds at last, knowing that they are now definitely living in the road that they are supposed to be living in…

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: floods / houses for sale / voting / poppies

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks progress / teas anyone? / graves appear at St M’s! / new saint’s connection (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including two fireworks displays …  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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Fancy a garnet?

As we reported before, sales are already underway for the houses on the coming St Modwen housing estate, which is being built at the west end of Draycott.
The sales brochure too is now published with a street-map of how the estate is to be arranged and where each type of house is going. The cheapest housing will be sited alongside on the estate’s border with the A50 highway, with the more expensive on the Draycott Level side.

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The brochure also lists (nearly) all the types of houses that will be available on ‘Blythe Fields’. A ‘Garnet’ style house is the most expensive at £360,000.
Curiously, the only kind of housing that is not advertised for sale in the brochure is the low-income housing; nor does the brochure tell you how to apply for that housing.
Curious… Hmm.

Torrents lead to floods

The torrential and unceasing rain a few days ago led, as you’d expect, to flash floods pretty much everywhere, including here. Zara Hutson, who co-runs the Draycott Arms, captured this amazing shot (below) when the flooding was at its height on Cheadle Road just outside her doors. Flash flooding Cheadle Road draycott
Most of it was, fortunately, just flash flooding, and receded quickly once the rain ceased, but we still have well-known problem areas which have more long-lasting flooding.
The drains on certain stretches of Uttoxeter Road, right through Draycott to Tean, are simply no longer coping well, and water lies in dangerous pools on these busy roads after heavy rain.

It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you are on (– is the Staffs County Highways Department incompetent? …or… is the government starving local authorities of money, which is why repairs are so slow? -), the fact is we’ve been waiting years now for some of the drainage systems to be sorted.
Sadly, no one should hold their breath that it will all be fixed soon.

Happy days … another election!

… yes, we are being sarcastic of course.
However, this one really is a biggie, there’s no doubt about that, and will (if we get a definite result) change this country for the next five years.
We are in the constituency of Stone.

So… if you are not registered to vote, get yourself sorted now. Already, across the country, thousands of people (mostly younger people) have been doing just that – and you still have time. The cut-off date to register (to vote in the election in December) is November 26th.
Click here to find out the process. It’s pretty simple.

Poppies for remembrance

Some people on the village Facebook page were puzzled – but pleased – to see a lot of poppies attached to lampposts in the village, and wondered who had put them there.
It’s actually pretty straightforward – they were put up by order of the Draycott village council, and congratulations should go to the council’s clerk, Denise Wheat, for organising the distribution.
Cresswell Poppy display 2019The poppies are to mark Armistice Day of course, which falls on November 11th (Monday) – though the main ceremonies will be carried out on Remembrance Sunday (which is on Nov 10th this year) – see our events page for details of what’s happening.

Last year many village councils adopted this neighbourhood poppy display as a one-off initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, but our council has decided to do it again this year.

DIY for £300,000

Ever fancied buying a charming old property and completing doing it up? Now’s your chance if you have £300,000 or so.
That’s the asking price for Totmonslow Farm Cottage (see pic below), which is on the market at the moment and being sold by Kevin Ford Estate AgentsTotmonslow Farm Cottage
It’s smaller than it looks (2 bedrooms) and needs some renovation – but the Totmonslow rural area is still a great place to live.
We’re off to buy a lottery ticket…!

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)

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

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

NEWS: Vol of The Year/ new homes/ farm sold/ giant pothole/ village assembly (not)

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2018
In this post we have news of…: your votes needed for Volunteer Of Year, 100-plus houses on the way, Draycott Cross’s huge pothole, ancient farm-site sold, village-assembly shambles …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cricket tournament on BH Monday…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Voting time

…no, don’t worry, it’s not our council election time (that’s next year), BUT your votes are requested please.

Nearly everybody will know John Clarke (see pic right). In the last few years he has been the go-to man for so much that happens in our village.
John ClarkeHe is best-known for the being the Chief Organiser of the Draycott Summer Fayre, which is now so successful that being organiser is almost a year-round job.
But John also does the little things too – he repairs our bus-shelters and notice-boards, delivers community newsletters, helped set up the churchyard lighting, and the like. He was the courageous fellow who climbed up into the church belfry for six months, working to restore the church’s 500-year old bells!
And he does it all for nothing.

In recognition of his work, this year John has been selected as one of the finalists in the Staffs Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Award. However, the winner is decided by public vote – so, please take the thirty seconds to vote for him.
To vote: just click on this link  (and then click the button by John’s name at the bottom of that page).
You can also vote by phone: just call 01538 381356, and leave your name and say you are voting for John Clarke (outside office hours, you’ll be diverted to Carol’s answer phone, and you can just leave your name and nominate John on that).
Anyone is allowed to vote.

Please vote – and please encourage friends, family, neighbours to vote (deadline is in just a few days – on May 31st).
The other finalists are from the Moorlands’ big towns; so for a lad from a small village like ours to win, he will need all the votes possible…

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King of potholes

The county council used to have an excuse for the plethora of potholes. They said most of them were caused by unstable tarmac contracting in freezing winter conditions. Well, in a very hot Spring, that excuse looks less believable.
A really nasty pothole has appeared on Cresswell Lane leading up to the cricket club. Because of the incline, it’s hard to see it until the last minute, and we’ve seen cars swerving very late to avoid it. But this manoeuvre is crazy because you’re approaching the blind brow of a hill there…Pothole D Cross 2018
However, the king of potholes, well over six inches deep, is at Draycott Cross on the road leading up to Boundary (see pic above). It’s a nightmare because it’s on a very narrow bend; you can feel your axle crunching as you go into it. Motorists, beware.
To report a pothole, click here.

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“New village” for Draycott

As we predicted some months ago, a planning application for a local estate of over 100 homes has been given the final green light by Staffs Moorlands Council.

The developers, St Modwen, have had dibs on the land all along the ridge overlooking Draycott Level for some time; and when they decided they wanted to build houses at one end of it, it would have been a hard fight to stop them.
The new estate, which will sit in the pocket of land which has the A50 on one side and the Blythe Bridge roundabout on the other, will also have a new access road – which will come out by the Chandni Cottage restaurant.

Predictably, our Draycott Council had almost nothing to say about this,  (despite the new estate being on the parish border), but the Stunner newspaper reported  great disappointment from local residents Lee Warburton and Paul Dyke.
Paul said: “How on earth can an access road across an extremely busy carriageway, no more than a stone’s thrown from one of the city’s most dangerous accident black-spot roundabouts make any sense? Adding in the extra cars from 118 houses will only make things worse.”
Another resident, Brian Sammons said that the site was so isolated up on the ridge that it amounted to a “new village”.

St Modwen has yet to announce what building plans they have for the rest of the ridge stretching along to Cresswell. Watch this space.

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Historic site sold

One of Draycott’s most interesting properties looks like it has finally been sold. High Coneygreave Farm, up on Draycott Cross near Huntley Wood, is ‘under offer’ for around £400,000. High Coneygreave FarmThe farm-site is very old, though the farmhouse itself is probably only 19th century (does any local historian know the answer?) and is in a lovely spot, with views all around. The only thing that seems to have put buyers off is all the work needed on the house.

Incidentally, the farm is on the access road to Huntley Wood Recreation Park, a private facility which is mostly used these days by ‘game-playing’ or ‘role-playing’ societies. The members of these societies use the Wood’s open spaces to enact live scenarios similar to Dungeons & Dragons etc.
So the new owners of High Coneygreave will have to get used to wizards and wonder-women passing their door!

What’s up at Draycott Council?

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

It might be best to try and forget the last council meeting.
The council was supposed to have organised a village-assembly (when the whole village comes together, to look back on the last year and plan for the next).
Well, it was a shambles. It was so badly organised and badly advertised that only one village organisation turned up specially (John Clarke, thank goodness, gave a report on the forthcoming village Summer Fayre) and less than ten people attended.

What’s more, the acting council clerk said she wasn’t attending, and no-one had thought to go and collect the paperwork off her for the meeting, so it was all a bit confused. Sigh.

Let’s hope the councillors get their act together in time for the Council’s Annual Meeting next month, when they have to report on the council’s achievements over the last year. Hmm…

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: no more buses / new use for barn / local budget talks / sports sponsor

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early-January 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott to lose its last bus / 19th century barn to be home / council discusses budget / sports centre gets new sponsor / footpaths survey…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a winter ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Bye bye buses

Plans have already been approved to remove the last bus service from Draycott.
Sadly, cuts to bus-subsidies by the county council mean that the No 12 route (run by D&G Bus, from Stone through Cresswell and Draycott along to Longton), is for the chop, as, without subsidies, it would be no longer viable to run.

Cresswell bus-shelter

Cresswell bus-shelter – soon to be redundant

In a statement to us, D&G confirmed the bad news, saying, “Due to the low numbers of passengers that service 12 carries, it is highly likely that the service will be withdrawn entirely once the funding is taken away on April 1st 2018.”

It’s a sad decline for the district.  Only a few years ago, the Hanley–Uttoxeter Express ran through the village! And now we will be reduced to nothing.

There is still an outside chance something can be worked out before April, and we will be looking to our community leaders on Draycott Council for some ideas. However, the authorities at Stafford would want some really strong or innovative suggestions from our councillors to make them alter their course. Based on recent experience of our councillors, one can’t see that happening…

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Budgeting issues

Draycott councillors also have another big issue on their minds, which should make their next meeting (on January 15th) a tense one.

For years now, the council has been underpaying its clerk (a council clerk is a sort of executive, non-elected administrator to a council). It turns out that the clerk – according to the guidelines laid down – should have been paid for nearly a quarter more hours than she is currently getting.
As you can imagine, this increase in her wages will cause a large hike in the council’s expenditure – and, as the council is funded by us, the taxpayers of Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow, it could mean in turn a large percentage hike in our ‘parish’ council tax.
Alternatively, the councillors could raid the emergency reserves to make up the deficit, or cut some of Draycott’s already thin services…

What will they do?
Decision-time for them is Monday 15th.

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Nineteenth century barn gets new life

At last, planning officers at SMDC have given a decision on the future of the old barn (see pic below) that stands just opposite the Draycott Arms.
A local farmer, George Plant, had put in an application to turn the building (which is pretty run-down now, and was used for hay-storage in the past) into a smart new home.
Well, George has his wish, and has been told he can now go ahead.
Rocks BarnHowever, those in that part of the village who were worried about a ‘loss of character’ may be pleased to learn that the present structure, which goes back to the 1880s, will not be demolished. Part of the planning permission is that builders must retain the walls and the ‘look’ of the old barn.
It will live on…!

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New support for sports centre

Yes, we are going through bad times at the moment in this part of the world: inflation is creeping up, there is a stagnant housing market, and there isn’t much left over at the end of the week to play with.

This is why the recent news that Draycott Sports Centre has attracted a new sponsor is definitely a positive story. In just the last few months the centre has worked out a deal with A-Star Tutoring, a company that provides private teaching to kids of all ages.

The company, which is based in Newcastle under Lyme, believes that sporting ambition is a good match to education prowess. We were told by them: “As educators, we strongly believe that sporting activities have a direct effect on the ways in which individuals perform in the classroom… Students with sporting backgrounds tend to extend their sense of competition within the context of academic subject areas, which encourages them to set high targets for themselves.”

In the near future at Draycott Centre expect to see the likes of tennis tournaments etc bearing the name & logo of A-Star Tutoring.

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Improve our footpaths

Even though we have miles and miles of footpaths in our small district, we have no regular maintenance of them by a recognised volunteer group. So, apart from the little bit that individuals do to care for stiles & destroyed signs and to report blockages, we have to rely on county council ‘rangers’. And the fact is that the environment department has taken a hammering in terms of cuts, so the rangers are doing less and less.

Oak Hill, Totmonslow stile

Near Oak Hill. Some landowners do make an effort to maintain stiles… nice one!

So, our nearest campaigning group, the Leek Ramblers, is urging everyone who loves walking in the countryside to complete the survey currently on offer from the county council – the Staffs Rights Of Way Consultation.
The Ramblers are warning that paths may close unless our voices are heard, so, if, like them, you want to keep the local countryside fully open, you need to complete it.

This consultation was due to have been halted by now but, under pressure, the county has extended the deadline to January 15th.

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

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

NEWS: big planning / community-hub opens / dangerous rail area / Totmonslow self-build?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-August 2017
In this post we have news of…: how Draycott is part of a national strategy / unfenced railway line / chance to build your own home / new community-hub opens on cricket ground /…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including the annual Cresswell Cloggerfest Music-Fest. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Draycott on the national planning agenda

The application to build over 100 homes at the east end of Draycott (by the A50 roundabout) seems to have caught everyone by surprise.
(It’s always a clever move by a developer to make a controversial application during the summer months as everyone’s attention is elsewhere – usually on a beach!)
Certainly our local newspapers and our local politicians seem to have made virtually no comment at all, which is both a shock and a shame, as this is a very big deal indeed.

What few of us realised is that this site, the huge so-called ‘Northern Gateway’ or ‘Blythe Vale’ site in the centre of Draycott is actually not just a local venture, but is part of a regional & national planning framework, linking major industrial centres like Stoke and Derby to the major networks.
The local community action group VVSM have been doing the research and came across a really interesting document proving this.

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It means that – once the economy picks up – this district is in line for a lot more industry and a lot more housing, and, as it’s part of a national strategy, we may not be able to do a lot about it. You have been warned…!

Anyway, at the moment, only the application for the 100+ homes is on the table. If you feel strongly about this development, you only have until 27th September to comment on the proposals. See the Blythe Vale Homes planning application by clicking here.

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Pavilion success

Happier news comes out of our local cricket club. The new pavilion/community-hub, on the Cresswell ground, is finished at last, and looks really splendid. The old pavilion had its charm, yes, but this smart new structure is the bee’s knees!
It cost over £500,000 (with help from the Lottery Fund) but it looks like it is well worth it.

An open invitation is now going out to everyone connected with the parish to come and take a look at it on Sunday 10 September (between 11am and 4pm). If you fancy going, please email the club, by this Friday, to say you’d like to be there, as it’s a matter of trying to judge numbers.

The pavilion/community-hub could turn into a major asset for the district as, apart from being a base for the cricket club, it is open for hire to local organisations – already a weekly yoga class has started up there. So, if you too run a class or such, you might want to check it out too.

If you can’t make it on the 10th, why not stroll along to see the first team’s last game of the season, on the 9th. With a bit of luck (and sunshine), the day will – hopefully – see the team crowned champions of League One… what a party that will be!!

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Open railway

For some time now, some of us have been wondering what Network Rail is up to by the Cresswell rail-crossing. A hundred yards along the main-line (in the Uttoxeter direction), the fencing that should be alongside the tracks, to stop both trespass and thoughtless kids from wandering onto the line, is simply… not there. It is completely wide-open.

An unmade road, which leads to a small group of six terraced homes (‘Railway Cottages’ by name) passes right by the unprotected area. The owners there form a small community (they get together to look after the unmade road and repair it, for instance) and have applied to Network Rail to fulfil its responsibilities, but, so far, no joy.

tidying the road to Railway Cottages

Repairing the road to Railway Cottages

If you also find this worrying, why not add your voice to the community’s, and write to Network Rail?
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Build your own home

It’s not often a chance comes up to build your own home, especially in beautiful open countryside… but this is what is on the cards right here in our parish – in Totmonslow.

Totmonslow Farm, which is no longer a full working concern, is the site of two potential conversions. A little way over from the historic old farmhouse itself, you’ll see some former farm buildings, which have not been in use for some years … though they do have charm of their own.
They are now up for sale, with planning permission: going to public auction on the 20th September.

Both sets of buildings also give a deal of space – click to see the details of The Barns, and of The Old Cart Shed.
It could be a dream come true for somebody…

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: secretive council / cricket joy / woodland for sale

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early February 2017
In this post we have news of…:  our local council holding secret meeting / building underway at the cricket club / a copse of trees for sale / countryside bunglaow for rent…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Open Day for anyone wanting to stand in elections to the County Council this May. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Bright Cricket future

It looks like 2017 is going to be a very big year for Blythe Cricket Club (who play in Cresswell, on the ground just up from the Izaak Walton).  Not only is the work on their new club-house/community-centre finally under way, but they have made a major signing.

It had been hoped that the work on the new brick building at the Cresswell Lane ground could get started last year, when the old wooden pavilion was knocked down.  (The pavilion had been up for nearly a century and was really showing its age).
However, any progress on the new-build meant jumping through yet more hoops with the Lottery Fund, which is the body underwriting much of the cost.
The good news however is that the hoops have been jumped and the construction company moved on to the site in the middle of last month (see pic below).
Sadly the work will not be finished in time for the cricket season, but fingers are tightly crossed for a completion in the late summer.  Perhaps.

Construction at Blythe Cricket Club Feb 2017Meanwhile, the First XI’s drive for promotion this year has been bolstered by the signing of the Bangladesh international Mosharraf Hossain as their professional for 2017.  The left-arm spinner has appeared on and off for his country for the last eight years. It shows the confidence the team has after a very good season last year.

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To buy / to rent

Cresswell seems to be the place if you want to buy a little stretches of land. Following the sale of the old railway sidings land near Railway Cottages, comes a chance to buy the narrow spit of land that runs alongside Sandon Road as you approach the Hunter Pub – it’s just over an acre in size.  A copse of small trees stands there at the moment.
If you’re interested, the auction for it takes place on March 9th.Copse on Sandon Road

Copse on Sandon Road

By the wa, not far from that copse is a rather desirable bungalow, which is up for rent at the moment. Bungalow on farm track, Cresswell
It’s off the beaten track, down the unmade road at the back of Rookery Crescent, and surrounded by fields on three sides with fine views.  If you’re interested, it is going for £1200 a month. See details.

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Secretive council

Did you hear about the ‘irregular’ Draycott Parish Council meeting which took place at the beginning of last month?
No, neither did we….

Even though this council has been reproached in the last few months for its tendency to want to pass decisions behind closed doors, this time it went even further, and didn’t even bother to inform the electors that it was meeting, or why.
We understand this particular meeting was arranged by the councillors themselves.  No public notice was put out, and no reason announced for why this secret meeting was held – no notification at all – nor even why it was so necessary to hold it behind closed doors – an action, which, as the Government’s own advice tells us, is “undesirable”.
The whole incident blows a huge big hole in the so-called ‘Transparency Code’, whereby councils are supposed to be much more open with their electors.

Exclusion of the public form

Exclusion of the public form. Was a document like this formally presented and signed?

What we’d ask the council to do as soon as possible is to publish: the subject of the meeting; why it was so important that it be a discussion excluding the public; which councillors attended (and which councillors, if any, objected to this possibly unlawful shenanigan); who took the minutes; and what decisions were finally taken (in our name!).
It would be really important too, to also know why the whole thing has been kept secret…

It does seem utterly unbelievable that this sort of thing is going on.  Until we get a full explanation, it just appears to be a lack of respect by the council for its own electors.

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

NEWS: Father D going / job vacancies / buy a barn! / can you vote?

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late February 2016
News of…:  Cresswell’s priest is leaving / parish handy-person post / grassland & barn up for sale / are you registered to vote?…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including lunches for Lent… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Popular priest to leave

Well, the bad news (for us, if not for him perhaps) is that Father David Hartley, who has been priest at St Mary’s RC Church in Cresswell for the last six years, is moving on.
Father David is returning to his roots by taking a new parish in Oxfordshire – but he will be sorely missed here.

How will he be replaced?  The fact is that Father David looks after three parishes (Meir and Caverswall, as well as Cresswell) and holds down a number of official (voluntary) posts, so he’s one of those people who often needs to be in two places at one time…   However, he also takes a keen interest in community affairs – he was even asked if he’d consider being a Draycott parish councillor – but he simply didn’t have the time!

Cresswell Information Centre opening

Father Hartley cut the ribbon for the Cresswell Information Centre opening

Draycott’s historians will miss him too, as he has enthusiastically carried out researches into the Catholic history of this ‘Paynsley district’ – as Catholics used to call it.

It’s not clear when exactly Father David will be going.  Though his new role down south commences at Easter, he expects to be here in Cresswell for the main 200th Anniversary Celebrations of St Mary’s in May 1st.
Let’s hope a grand Farewell Party for him will mark the occasion too!

– – –
Want a derelict barn of your own?

Talking of history, there’s a chance to own a little bit of our local history – if you have £150,000.  If you ever walk up the bank past The Draycott Arms, you’ll have noticed a derelict old long barn on the right-hand side of the road.  No-one is quite sure how old it is, but it is now part of the sale of five acres of land there.

The barn and the huge, empty field around it are currently on the market, and being handled by Eaton & Hollis.  See the details.

– – –

If you’re looking for part-time work, two local opportunities have come up.

In the next village along going south, the parish council there are looking for a handyperson.  They want someone to carry out regular maintenance of public benches, notice-boards, planters and bus shelters, and also carry out minor repairs.  Altogether, the contract pays £2970 a year (equipment provided).
See the details here, or take a look at the council’s notice-boards (nearest one is in Saverley Green).

Our own Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council could take a lesson from Fulford, because our parish council has been saying it wants to employ a ‘lengthsman’ (aka a handyperson) for the last four years, but doesn’t seem to have figured out that advertising the post might be one solution to the problem.

Draycott Arms

Want to work at The Draycott?

Also on the local vacancies list is an opportunity for a sous-chef at The Draycott Arms. The pub is willing to see the right candidate as soon as they apply…

– – –
In… out?

Finally, don’t lose out on your chance to cast a ballot in what David Cameron has called the “biggest vote in our lifetimes”.  Yes, the European Referendum vote is now set for June 23rd; and you need to make sure you are properly listed on the Electoral Register if you wish to take part.

All you need to know about being on the Electoral Register can be found on the SMDC Elections Page.

Incidentally, on the same day we will all be being asked to vote for who should be the next Staffordshire Police & Crime Commissioner.  Already a number of candidates are lining up for this one – even the Green Party is putting forward a nomination.

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: school sale / flooded drains / sad death / community date

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early February 2016
News of…:  Draycott Moor College property up for sale / rest in peace Doctor Dave / date for annual community meeting announced / are financial cuts to blame for flooding? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Valentines dance… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Million pound property

If you have almost a million pounds, you might be interested in a desirable property in Draycott.  Yes, that’s the guide price for the land & buildings of Draycott Moor College (the old primary school) which goes to auction next week.
However, you’ll have to be the patient sort – as the present tenants, the Horizon Education Group, have a lease until 2023, and cannot be forced to leave until then…

The college, which cares for troubled youngsters, has been successful in attracting more pupils recently, and has been growing, even taking on some younger children. The roll-call now stands at around twenty-six students, some of whom come daily from quite some distances away.
The growth has been such that the college has now decided it needs to build its own car-park on the site.  The latest hope is that this will be completed by Easter – which will make the parking in Draycott Old Road less congested.

Interestingly enough, the whole college site was suggested last year as a possible development area for new houses.  (Draycott has been asked by the district council to find enough spare land on which to build twenty-five homes).  Perhaps any buyer will be aware of that, and see it as an investment?

– – –
Goodbye Doctor Dave

Doctor DaveIt’s not often that a resident of Draycott is the subject of a front-page splash in the local papers, but that is what happened when the sad news of the death of Dr Bhupendra Dave was reported. It shows how well-respected he was as a local figure.

Doctor Dave, who had served as a doctor in Cheadle for many years before retiring just over a decade ago, lived quite near to the Draycott Arms.
We send our condolences to his wife Devila.

– – –
Preventable (?) floods

A couple of weeks ago we reported on this website on all the flooding in Cresswell, which you might call flooding ‘due to natural circumstances’, as parts of Cresswell are in a flood-zone.
But… there was also flooding on the Uttoxeter Road just before Totmonslow, flooding in Draycott Old Road (where sandbags had to be used), flooding on the dual carriageway slip road, among a number of incidents where you could say the flooding was different – as it was quite preventable.

Now that the waters have gone down, people have been out to find out what went wrong, and a lot of it seems to be down to poor or infrequent clearing of the ditches and drains.

Blocked pipe on Uttoxeter Road

As you can see from the photo above, the pipe which should have taken any excess water off the Uttoxeter Road and siphoned it into the parallel ditch is simply so choked it couldn’t do its job.
Also, a number of drains are just silted up, as you can see in the photo below (also on the main road). However, some people also believe that the culverts under some roads have simply collapsed.

Silted up drain

Draycott Parish Council is so fed up about one incident near Draycott Old Road that it has written to the neighbouring Forsbrook Parish Council to ask them to help sort out the root causes, as the problem originated on Forsbrook’s side of the ‘border’.

But, at the end of the day, our guess is that the financial cuts have bitten so deep that the county council can no longer keep up its commitments to maintain smaller districts like ours.  Parish councillors at Kingsley (which is a village the other side of Cheadle) seem to think the same thing, and have written a strong letter to the Chief Executive of Staffordshire telling him not to ignore small villages.

– – –
The people’s meeting

A date has just been announced for the local ‘parish assembly’ – an annual event where Draycott & district residents are asked to come together to discuss the issues that bother them in the community.  By law this gathering must be held in the Spring, and is quite an old tradition, which applies only to villages and small towns – cities and larger towns are not entitled to hold an assembly in this way.

However, too often, these meetings are usurped by politicians… when in fact they are meant to be a meeting for the ordinary people of a district, when they can raise and discuss whatever questions they want.
If you’d like an issue discussed, Kate Bradshaw is putting together the agenda – contact her if you want something discussed or you have a query.
The Draycott Parish Assembly is scheduled for Monday April 25.

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: more new housing / Facebooks / rectory for sale / newspaper delivery

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2015
News of…:  suggested new housing sites in Draycott / more local Facebooks / want a newspaper delivered? / rectory for sale  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a summer sports-camp for kids. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Even more homes to be built in Draycott

So… at last Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has announced its ideas about where new housing could be built in the area over the next twenty years.  The Moorlands needs to build another 3,500 new homes before 2026, not just to sustain the supply of homes for local people (as per its own Core Strategy), but to achieve the new government’s demanded quota.
Now this new set of proposals is looking even further ahead, to 2031.

You’d think that the proposed 170 homes on the Blythe Park site would see us in Draycott-in-the-Moors firmly past our quota, but in fact the village has to provide sites for a further twenty-five homes.
In the so-called Site Allocations Document, there are some dozen potential sites along Draycott Level (Cresswell and Totmonslow are excluded) that council officers have looked at already. So far, the planners only think one of these potential sites is really suitable – but, that still leaves the planners short of sites in Draycott, so they are still looking.

SMDC Site Allocation Plan

The SMDC Site Allocation Plan shows fourteen sites, in yellow, for housing in Draycott that have already been suggested.  Only one is thought totally suitable though.  (To double the size of this photo, double-click on it; and then use the back-button to get back to this page)

One site that does seem like it will definitely get into the ‘short-list’ is the field behind the bungalows of St Margaret’s Court Sheltered Housing complex.  Pundits say that this land, which is owned by the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield, is likely to have at least ten homes built on it soon.

Like us, you may be puzzled by all this!
Well, you can read up the proposals by going online (click here), or you can go along to the public consultation session at Blythe Bridge Village Hall next week, on Wednesday 29 July (4pm-8pm) – when council planning officers will be on hand to answer questions.

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‘Big house’ for sale

The latest ‘big house’ up for sale in Draycott district is the so-called new rectory which lies on the east side of St Margaret’s Church.  It’s quite hard to get to by car, because it lies one hundred yards up an unmade road.  But, if you like a nice isolated situation, this is for you!

The house – properly called ‘The Old Vicarage’, for some strange reason – was originally built in the 1960s to house the clergy of St Margaret’s, with Reverend Dr Healey being the first rector to live in it.
For the previous 150 years, the clergy had lived in The Old Rectory, the lovely (but very old) moated house opposite the Draycott Arms  – but the place was falling into dereliction and was simply too expensive to keep repairing, so the church sold it.  (Bill Hartley, the scrap metal man, bought it, did it up, and lives there still).

If you are interested, estate agents Donald Cope are handling the sale and you can have it for £375,000.
It has a fish pool…

– – –
Facebooks galore!

Talking of church activity, Draycott & Cresswell can boast yet another Facebook group – the Cresswell Catholics of St Mary’s (and nearby Catholic churches) page.  Gabbie Termine and  Deacon Trevor are its administrators, and they update it regularly.
The St Margaret’s Church Facebook page has been going for some time now, and is also worth keeping an eye on.

Another Draycott social media page is the Sultan Buffet Pakistani restaurant Facebook (the restaurant by Stuart Avenue) page.  The new owners are keen to point out that they are nothing to do with the Mango Tree Restaurant which was in the building before, insisting that they are a completely new operation.
Mohammed ShabazIn fact, the new guy in charge there is Mohammed Shabaz (pic right), was first known for his food in Birmingham’s famous Balti Triangle.
The place has been getting some good reviews from the critics too – see Andy Munro’s review.

– – –
Delivery to your letter-box

Finally, if Facebook and Twitter and all that kind of thing leaves you cold, then you are probably someone who likes good old-fashioned newspapers and magazines.
But… it isn’t always easy for people in Draycott to get to a shop to buy them, especially if you rely on buses (what buses???!!).  One day we mentioned this to a neighbour, who surprised us by telling us that a daily newspaper delivery service is available to residents of Draycott & Cresswell (… and we never knew!).

The lovely lady at Lloyds Newsagent – next to Blythe Bridge Railway Station – has a network of local residents who will deliver to homes, on her behalf, every day in our district.  She will even come out and bring your newspaper herself if it’s a slow day!
Just phone her on 01782 393544 to arrange deliveries – which can be as frequent or as infrequent as you like.

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: work in snow / men in court / bar-bottle / losing weight / expensive house

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early January 2015
News of…:  The Moorlands second most expensive house in 2014 / local men in court on drugs charges / lose weight – locally! / snow pictures / cash in a bottle for churches…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– –
Working in the snow

Thanks for photos of the recent snow…
Some great photos came from the folk at Huntley Wood Outdoor Leisure Centre, up at Draycott Cross.

Bookings slow down up there on the hill at this time of year of course, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of activity!  It’s the time of year when repairs, renovations and improvements can all take place; and the pace – for the owners – is really as busy as ever.

Huntley Wood under snow

Huntley Wood grounds under snow

The photo above is the view across the main camping field, also showing the double toilet block shell which has gone up over the winter.
For more photos of Huntley in the snow, click here.

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Court appearance

Tomorrow, two local men will be up in court – following a raid by police on an address in Cresswell in the middle of last month.   During the operation, drugs including cannabis were found; and two people were arrested, and charged with intent to supply.

Charles Milner, (aged 24, from Rookery Crescent in Cresswell) and Douglas Malbon (aged 25, from Stuart Avenue on Draycott Level), will appear at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

– –
New neighbours

We are always saying that Draycott is a nice place to live; and it seems like some people will pay a fortune for the privilege.
Yes, the second most-expensive property sold in the Staffordshire Moorlands last year (2014) was right here in Draycott.  The Grange, a country house in Cheadle Road (just up from The Draycott Arms) went for around £850,000.
We first reported it was up for sale two years ago, so it wasn’t exactly a quick sell.  But it is a lovely house & grounds.

The Grange

The Grange

Whoever bought it may well be into swimming or boating – as it has a large natural lake in the grounds – and a log cabin to boot!
Welcome to the neighbourhood…

– –

Coins in tray

What is these coins’ value?

Cash for churches

Meanwhile, a little further down the monetary scale, we are pleased to report that money-bottle on the bar at The Draycott Arms pub is pretty much full.  Regulars have been dropping spare change into the bottle over the last two years as a way of raising funds for the two historic churches in our locality – St Margaret’s and St Mary’s.

As the money-bottle is full, it’s now time to count the cash; and, as a further attempt to raise just a little more, there’s an extra competition.   All the coins were poured out into a wooden tray – do you think you can guess how much is actually in the bottle?  Each guess will cost you 50p and there is a prize for the closest estimate…

– –
Two ways to lose weight

Finally, if your resolution is to lose weight in the new year, well at least you are living in the right place, as there are two courses just getting underway to help you achieve just that.

At the Draycott Sports Centre, fitness guru Maria Emery is putting on her BodyFit course every Monday evening.  Interestingly she also gives advice about healthy eating; and one thing she warns everybody against is breakfast cereal…  she thinks it’s no good for you.

And, just three hundred yards away, at the Tatsu Kai Training Centre, Mia Arrowsmith will launch her Motiv8 programme next week.  This course also includes a hard & long examination of the foods we eat and what nutrition they are giving us.  But Mia is a PT instructor too, so it will be a mix of exercise and education…

Yes, we are definitely regretting asking for those extra portions of roast tatties…

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).

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

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