Category Archives: transport

NEWS: buses / roads-meeting / planters! / cricket drop

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses – but not for us / roadworks press on regardless / one man’s flower campaign / cricket gloom
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Draycott Neighbourhood Plan workshop …  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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St Mods press on

The ‘information-day’ that St Modwen Homes and Staffs County Highways put together yesterday to explain the forthcoming roadworks was fairly unsatisfactory all round.
Instead of using the big room at Blythe Village Hall, the organisers funnelled people in and out of the back-room (where basically you can’t hold more than a dozen people comfortably) so it was very crowded at times; it was a poor effort frankly, and most reaction was, unsurprisingly, negative.
It was pretty difficult to get close to one of the officers, let alone hear what they were saying, but the gist of it was that the roadworks would go ahead come what may.
When it came to how Blythe Bridge & Draycott would cope with the potential gridlock, it seemed few of the questions we posed had ready answers.

A521 closure plans (2) Sept 2019

No way through to the A50 – for ten weeks

So … all we can hope is that the huge publicity that we as residents have generated (well done to us!) will have alerted a lot of motorists to the problem; and so those motorists will already be looking for alternative routes. Let’s hope so.
Good luck to everyone – the roadworks start on Monday (Oct 7th)!

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Bright array

If a motorist does get stuck in the roadworks jam, at least they will have a bright sight to look at.
New roadside planters, put up by local volunteer Lee Warburton, have been a real success.
The colourful flower arrangements in the containers have been dazzling on sunny days (…Draycott Plant Nurseries provided the displays).

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The whole project has been put together by Lee, who decided that Draycott Level, from the A50 to the Arms, just needed a little love (!).
He himself constructed the planters (more than half-a-dozen so far along the stretch), using a grant from the local ‘Draycott Community Solar Array Fund’ to pay for materials; got approval from the village council; and then got the official permissions from Highways to site them.The project is far from over – more planters are to come -, but with autumn setting in, we won’t see the best of of the scheme for another six months.
But then we expect Draycott Level to be bursting with colour again…!

It just shows what one volunteer can do with a little bit of good-will and determination. We owe Lee some thanks…

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No buses … and new buses

If a Draycott Council plan had come off, a bus service would have been running through Draycott-Cresswell by now.
Sadly, the plan has fallen apart, mostly because of legal issues.
However, it was a brave attempt and the council should be congratulated for having a go at least.

But … if you can get yourself to Tean or Cheadle or Blythe, there are some new services to try out.
Stantons have just started a twice-daily (Mon-Fri) ‘INR’ Cheadle-Hanley route which goes via Blythe.
D&G Buses have also just started a 32 service which goes Tean-Hanley via Cheadle.
Confusingly, First Potteries Buses also ran a 32 service, so that is now being renamed the ‘Kingfisher’ (!) service ; it runs Hanley-Uttoxeter via Tean and Blythe.
Meanwhile the long-established First Potteries 6A, which plies the Blythe-Hanley route, continues but some early-morning trips are now cancelled.
… the actual nearest working bus-stop to us is at Blythe Village Hall – and that serves the First Potteries 6A.
But, despite all that – still no buses through Draycott!

So, our recommendation is: if you are having difficulties, use the Moorlands Voluntary Transport scheme. Their local volunteer, Brian Blackwood, will pick you up and take you where you want to go, even as far as Stoke Hospital – and for around half what a normal taxi would cost you. You have to register, but, if you have no transport, it’s a real boon.

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Cricketing gloom

It was a sad day at Blythe CC’s ground in Cresswell two weeks ago when the First XI played their last match of the season. Having had two successful seasons in the NSCCL Premier Division, this third season’s results had been grim, dooming them to relegation.
Such is the spirit of deflation at the club, even their Facebook page has fallen silent.

But the gloom will not last long we are pretty sure. Already a professional has been signed for next season, and there is a lot else to be proud of at the club, including the junior teams.

In front of the new hub: Austin Knott (club secretary), Brian Lawton (cricket league chairman), Alison Grimley (chair of the club's Lottery Bid), Simon Owen (club chairman)

Blythe Cricket Club’s ‘Community Hub’ (aka the pavilion)

Personally, we’d also like to see more publicity about the ground’s ‘Community Hub’ (which you barely hear much of these days), as more use of it would keep Cresswell buzzing in the winter months.

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

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

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

NEWS: buses return? / art competition / village centre / bright light / food bank

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses returning to the village? / an art competition for youngsters / new food-bank drop-off / Keg’s bright light softened / a centre-piece for Draycott?… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including the annual Draycott Fayre…  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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Buses are back! (soon)

It’s been a while since the last bus service ran through Draycott & Cresswell. When Staffordshire County Council withdrew its subsidy for the Number 12 eighteen months ago, that was that.
The only way at present to get a bus locally is to first walk to either Blythe Bridge or Tean.

Bennett's Number 4 bus

It’s been a while since we last saw a bus in the village

But it looks like that will change later this year.
This is because local village councils are now increasingly taking it on themselves to provide subsidies, and Draycott Council is itself now also going to experiment with the concept. Draycott is joining up with Fulford and Forsbrook Councils to provide a straight-through bus going Fulford – Cresswell – Draycott Level – Blythe Bridge and it will touch on Tesco at Meir Heath as well. There will be one (return) service three days a week.
Sadly, it won’t run through Totmonslow though.

The service, run by D&G Buses, will apply normal charges (bus passes will be accepted); and is likely to start in the autumn.

For a small council like Draycott, it’s ambitious – but very risky. The subsidy will cost Draycott £1800 (around a fifth of its yearly income) – though, if the service is a success, much of that will be reimbursed to the council.
So, for now, the service is only guaranteed for six months. This will be truly a case of use-it-or-lose-it.

The lead councillor on this project is Gordon Winfield. Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

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Budding Picassos – it’s your time

There are now less than a few days for youngsters to get in their artworks for the Draycott Fayre Young-Art Competition.
The competition is open to early-years children (5 to 11 years old) and entries must be this Friday (July 5th).

The competition is just one of a raft of new ideas which are making this year’s fayre (which takes place in a fortnight, on Sunday 14th July) look so exciting. So, adults… get your little ones drawing, or painting or crayoning now – whatever they prefer!

The basic ‘rules’ are simple. Try to compose something on the theme of saving life on this planet; and create it on a piece of A4 size material, whether it’s paper, card, canvas, whatever.
When you’re done, post it through the letterbox at The Draycott Arms or at Blythe Bridge Library.
(For full terms and conditions, click here).

Go on…. try it…!    The entries get pride-of-place at an exhibition on the day of the fayre.

_ _ _
Drop off food, near home

The distressing news that so many children in this country now live below the poverty line continues to shock us all; and is a reason why food banks are still so well used by those who just can’t afford to keep going easily.
What is wonderful though is how generous the rest of us can be, and most food banks still get plenty of donations thankfully.
However, it’s not always so convenient for us to get our donations to the main food bank at Cheadle, which is only open certain days and has parking issues.
So, it’s good news that Christ Church (on Hollington Road in Upper Tean, opposite the Great Wood Centre) now has a collection box for the Foodbank at the back of the building. The church is open every day until about teatime when donations are collected by volunteers.
Well done to the folk at Christ Church.

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A little place of pride

Draycott Village Council has decided to take seriously the idea of creating a ‘centre-piece’ for the village.
There is a small triangle of grass at the bottom of Church Lane (opposite the turn into Cresswell) which at the moment looks a bit scruffy and is just used for off-road parking; and Councillor Mark Deaville would like to see it used ‘artistically’.

Draycott Triangle – currently mainly used for off-road parking

So, the idea is to fence off the triangle with low posts (to prevent the parking) – but also to set within it some objects, which will let motorists know that they are passing through a village which has a sense of its own pride.
Quotes are being sought, as we speak, for the cost of installing such posts.

But what should be placed in the Triangle – if anything? Don’t forget that a large new roundabout is planned to be built right by the Triangle relatively soon, so motorists will be travelling quite slowly past the project and will get to see it well.
(We personally would love to see a village sign there – see our Village Sign Article).
Do you have ideas? Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

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Electric light

Talking of village conservation, it seems that complaining to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council does sometimes result in action…
Some residents at the western end of Draycott were unhappy about the new LED illuminated sign outside the Golden Keg. They complained that its colour was garish and that the way it flashed on and off was disturbing to them in their nearby homes.

Well, it seems like the officers at SMDC agree with the residents … to an extent. They ordered the restaurant to stop the sign flashing.
So, in theory at least, the effect of the light should not be quite so intrusive now.

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

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

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

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

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

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John’s busy time

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

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

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

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

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

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Buses survey

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

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

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

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Arms expansion

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

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

Hassell St Jive Candy

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

Looking forward to that!!

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Shame

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

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

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The Draycott Council bit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS: roundabout details / Izaak price cut / new space for hire / rail petition

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-January 2018
In this post we have news of…: details of new Cresswell roundabout / Blythe CC hub price-list / petition to improve rail line / discount in Izaak pub cost ……
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Valentines Ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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‘Cresswell Circle’

Detailed plans are now in for the large new roundabout which is to be built in the middle of Cresswell. The roundabout will service the new housing estate & expansion of the adjacent industrial site.

All the measurements are listed on the plans, and it looks like the roundabout will be some 25m across – about half the width of a football pitch – with a grass mound in the middle. Basically it will be built on the field behind the present lay-by; and the current length of Sandon Road opposite the lay-by will be re-worked, as a residents’-only access frontage.

Cresswell Roundabout details

All of us have just over a month left to look over the plans and to comment on them. Click here to get a better close-up of the plans, and click here to make your comments (by March 7th).
If the plans get the full go-ahead (which is very probable), we should see the work starting around Easter-time – so start to expect traffic delays about then…

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

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

What’s interesting is that the construction-works this year will also include the new central roadway through the whole Blythe Park development – at the far end of which (on a virgin plot beyond the current industrial park) will also be being built a large new factory-warehouse for a garden-furniture company.

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Community hub open for business

Better late than never, the price list for the hire of the new pavilion at Blythe Cricket Club (in Cresswell) is finally with us – and the prices aren’t bad at all.

In front of the new hub: Austin Knott (club secretary), Brian Lawton (cricket league chairman), Alison Grimley (chair of the club's Lottery Bid), Simon Owen (club chairman)

All smiles in front of the new community hub

If you remember, the brand-new facilities at the club opened at the end of last summer to great fanfare – in large measure, thanks to a huge £500,000 grant from  the Big Lottery Fund. Part of the club’s deal with the Lottery was that the ‘hub’, as it’s known, must be open for use by the surrounding community too.
The new-build includes new changing-rooms, updated toilets and baby-changing facilities – but, most importantly, as far as local residents are concerned, there is a shiny new large space (and bar) which is available for hire to the public.
And the prices are OK (well, we think so) – £50 for a half-day (not including bar & bartender). Check them out for yourself – see the official Blythe Community Hub – price list.

It’s an irony of the way that things go in the modern world that we have now have four community spaces for hire in our district (the village hall, the Cresswell dojo, the sports centre and now the cricket club), as well as – sometime in the next few years -, another one which will come as part of the forthcoming Blythe Park Housing Estate.
So, we have a plethora of ‘community hubs’ – but not even a little local shop!!   Oh well.

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Railway petition

Once all the new building developments are completed over the next five years, Draycott-Cresswell is going to start snarling up with lots more traffic – the amount of cars owned by Cresswell households alone is set to double.

It’d be nice to think then that the railway service into Stoke or Derby (from the rail station at Blythe Bridge) is an option for more comfortable travel. But, as anyone who travels the line at peak time will know, the carriage/s (yes, often there is just one coach!) is absolutely jam-packed. Not pleasant.

So the MP for Stoke South, Jack Brereton, initiated an online petition in early December, in which he called on the government’s railways minister to force the local operating company to renew the rolling stock and improve the service.

Trouble is that poor old Jack has only got 45 supporters so far. Oh well.

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Izaak reduced

By the way, still no word on what is likely to happen to the Izaak Walton Pub in Cresswell. When it closed in last year there were quickly rumours that a small resto-pub chain was interested, and there were high hopes that the old place would open again soon.

Izaak walton Inn new sign

Seems like those hopes were dashed, and the caretakers have had to stay on ever since – though the asking price has been reduced, down to £325,000.
The whole pub-hospitality business is a very difficult one at the moment, but it certainly would be good to see some sort of future for a place that is so iconic of the whole village.

***
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: shelter expense / Remembrance / speed madness / history at risk

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2016
News of…:  An expensive bus-shelter / WW1 Draycott man remembered / speed demons back in the village / Paynsley remains “at risk” …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a decorated christmas tree festival. Check out the Events page)

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

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Paying for a bus shelter with no buses

What do you do with a bus shelter when no buses come to it any more?  That is the dilemma that Draycott local council finds itself in.
The bus-shelter next to the Draycott Arms – which was built and is owned by Draycott Council – was crumbling and decaying, but then again, no buses have stopped there for two years (since the Uttoxeter express bus was cancelled) – and it’s pretty unlikely we’ll ever get a bus along that route again.
So – should anyone bother doing anything about it at all?

Well, Draycott Council felt they should repair it, and so they put £500 into renovating  the whole roof at the end of the summer, plus a further sum into repairing the perspex glazing for the noticeboard inside.  Now it turns out that they may well have to put in a further £100 in, because now the structure is swaying in high winds and needs bracing…
(To add insult to injury, someone has taken to dumping piles of old wood at the back of it as well).

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This is all taxpayers’ money of course, so all of us should be thinking about what the solution could be to this particular headache.
If you have a thought, why not present it at the next council meeting, on Monday November 21st?

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Remembrance

We are almost exactly in the middle of the four years of the 100-year anniversary of World War One, which lasted from 1914 to 1918.

This year there is a special commemoration at Stoke Railway Station to remember the men of the North Staffordshire Railway who died in World War 1.  Of those who went to the battlefields, one in ten NSR men never came back. One of them was a Draycott man.

Stoke Railway Station war memorial

Stoke Railway Station war memorial

Sergeant Philip Hawley Bagnall, who joined up in 1914 and was killed just one year later, lived in Draycott before the war.  He is remembered on the Draycott Church war memorial, as well as on the Stoke Railway Station war memorial.
Lev Wood, of our local history society, researched his story, which you can read for yourself by clicking here.

On this year’s Armistice Day, Friday 11 November, the event at Stoke station will see the names of all those NSR men who died being read out to passengers and public on the platform. The reading will take five hours, with one name being announced every two minutes. A two-minute silence will follow at 11am.
If you can’t get to Stoke Railway Station, a parade & silence is being held in Blythe Bridge on Remembrance Sunday (the 13th).

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Speedsters are back

The community speedwatch team in Cresswell has been hit by a couple of resignations, so it no longer has the personnel to get out regularly with a radar-gun and do the useful work they were doing.
The planned Draycott Level speed-watch project seemed never to have got off the ground.
The official speed-camera vans, which for a while were seen pretty regularly round here, also seem not to be putting in so many appearances.

And that is all a shame, because the threat of speed-cameras does deter offenders… and now the biggest idiots seem to be back, seen bombing up and down the local roads once again.  We observed one moron doing what must have been eighty, in a car with a souped-up engine, along Cresswell Lane one Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago; while the forty miles an hour limit on Draycott level is hardly ever kept to at all, is it?

Dead badger on Cheadle Road

Dead badger on Cheadle Road

The speed disease seems to be spreading to Cheadle Road (the really narrow, bending road up to Draycott Cross).  The road-kill there is not just badgers either.

By the way, if you see a dead badger, you are supposed to report the sighting – click here to check what to do.

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Paynsley … continuing to decay

Once again the annual report from English Heritage about UK listed buildings has put the Paynsley Hall ruins on the ‘at-risk’ register.  Sadly, this notice about Paynsley seems to happen year after year: the remains of the medieval moat keep decaying, but no one seems to want to do that much about it.

Paynsley Hall was an ancient mansion on farmland in Cresswell (just behind what is now Blthe Park) .  It was even the site of a small skirmish in the English Civil War in the 1600s when the Parliamentarians ransacked the place.
It was substantially demolished in the 1960s, though very small bits of it remain.  The remains are, as we say, in very poor condition, though actually it is hard to know just how poor, as the remains can only be approached by permission of the land-owner, which is rarely given.

Two years ago, Draycott Council promised to make enquiries, but nothing seems to have transpired.

***
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: cuts to buses / VVSM action / Draycott champions / superfast arrives

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2015
News of…:  change of bus provider, and cuts to services / we are the (tennis) Champions! / latest moves over Blythe Park development / at last, local Superfast Broadband goes live  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a free music festival. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Goodbye number 4, hello number 12

Well, any bus-user will be feeling a bit fed up looking at the new bus timetables for our area, which will activate in in a fortnight’s time on September 6th.
The changes have been implemented by Staffordshire County Council, who pay for the service to operate.

Our district only has one bus service nowadays, which goes through Cresswell, then out to Blythe Bridge & Longton along Uttoxeter Road, and to Stone in the reverse direction.
Bennett’s will no longer be running this service through Cresswell-Draycott, which is now taken over by D&G Buses. So, the number 4 bus (Bennett’s) will be replaced by the number 12 (D&G).

Bennett's Number 4 bus

Bennett’s Number 4 bus – a last sighting?

The route is very twisty indeed, going Cresswell – Blythe Bridge – Longton – Stone in a sort of loop.   You can get to Barlaston if you want.  See the complete new timetable here.
You can also see that the number of bus services passing through per day has now dropped from eight (four in each direction) to six.   Yes, they have now taken off the last bus, the one that used to run around 4.30pm.
There is an bus-information event in Stone on Thursday 3 September at Market Square (near the Co-Op) from 10am-2pm.  If you go along, and find out any more, would you let us know?

Things are getting so bad for bus-users, that, in neighbouring Fulford, the Parish Council there has helped to start up a voluntary car scheme to enable residents to get about.

Slowly, slowly, they are whittling our services down.  Soon, we will all need to be getting taxis!

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Draycott Parish Council – a deafening silence

There was a nice big attendance for the meeting organised by local action group VVSM last week to discuss the latest set-back for residents over the Blythe Park development. Despite an overwhelming majority of residents in Cresswell expressing opposition to the plan and the fact that it broke Staffordshire Moorlands own Core Strategy, the SMDC planning committee confirmed its decision to approve the plans.

Unless VVSM can overturn the result legally (by proving negligence on SMDC’s part) all that remains is for the ‘Section 106’ terms & conditions to be thrashed out… though that could take months.

What’s amazing is the Draycott Parish Council’s complete silence over this matter, and over the other local big planning issue, the current housing allocation consultation for Draycott.
Most of us expected that the PC would call an emergency meeting, or at least issue some sort of statement to residents … but not a peep.
The members can’t all be in Tenerife, can they?

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Champions … again!!

Well done to the Draycott Sports Centre tennis team, who have done us all proud by bringing the City & Suburban League Championship title back to Draycott again.

The team, ably led by Craig Leese, were trailing Florence for a lot of the season, but achieved a stunning result at the beginning of August, beating Florence 4-0.  That result made the way to the championship much easier.
Congratulations, lads!

The centre is now going to build on its brilliant tennis reputation by setting up a proper ‘tennis committee’ to develop the club’s plans to branch out even more into the community.  If that is something that you think you want to give some time to, just contact the club’s Jack Redfern.

Incidentally, talking of sport, the last we heard is that Tara Burndred (who is the 4th Dan Black Belt who runs the martial arts centre in Cresswell) is still planning to defend her world title at the Ju-Jitsu International Championships next month in Switzerland.
So, stay fit, Tara … and good luck!!

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Superfast crawls in, at last

Well, after months (and months) of waiting, superfast-broadband is finally here in Blythe Bridge-Draycott-Cresswell.  Twelve months ago, we published an article asking what was happening to the roll-out!
However, the cabinet in the Cresswell lay-by (see pic, below) now proudly bears its little sticker.

Cresswell broadband cabinet
The sticker means the cabinet is now live at last, and – if you upgrade your system – you should be able now to get download-speeds of 80Mbps and upload-speeds of 20Mbps.
If you do sign up, let us know if it’s working as well as that for you.

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Busy busy

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your diaries are up to date with local events.
The pick of the crop are the Draycott Sausage & Cider Festival, which takes place this Bank Holiday Monday of course, and then the annual Cloggerfest Free Music Festival, which takes place the following week at Blythe Cricket Club (on September 5th).
Cloggerfest has over a dozen acts on stage – including Jimmy Dammage & The Shadow, Gypsy Whores, Quiet The Thief, Baxter, Barrelhouse Jukes, Ryan Doole, Rain, Hornswaggle, Dawn, Rich Clough, Nixon Tate and Venus Rising. And the whole event is free.
For parents, there is the good news that weekly Brownies sessions return to Draycott Church Hall in two weeks’ time.

But there are loads more events – check out our What’s On page for the details of these and all the other events.

One what’s-on notification we got did surprise us though…  The Quick-Quick-Slow Dance Studio in Cresswell is advertising a couple of dances that they say will sell out fast – so they are urging us to sign up asap.
And when do the dances take place?  At Christmas!!
(Whatever happened to autumn?!!)

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Thirty years of the A50

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the biggest-ever construction project in Draycott’s history – the A50 road.
However, it has been thirty years of pain for some locals, so don’t expect a celebration…

The A564

In 1985, the ‘A564’ stretch of dual carriageway was opened – changing its name very soon to the ‘A50’.   It stretched from Blythe Bridge Bridge to Uttoxeter.
The project was a massive one, causing years of disruption in Draycott.  The parish was cut in half by the road, into the Cresswell and Draycott sides; and it required five bridges and underpasses to keep them in touch with each other.

A564 sign

The sign announcing the coming of the A564

Also, the ancient trackways of Cresswell Lane and Cresswell Old Lane were re-routed, which is why they look different on old maps.

But there was one huge problem: the new road was made of concrete.
Concrete is hard-wearing, cheap and easy to lay; but the traffic surface noise, a sort of intense whining, can be unbearable to listen to – as many residents then found out.

The question is then: why, in this whole thirty years, has the surface never been replaced – thus making life so much easier for residents?

Prevention

The highway engineers who built the road knew what the problem would be.
At one time (when the route of the new A50 was planned to be north , not south, of Draycott Level), the Department of Transport paid for double-glazing to be installed in houses in Uttoxeter Road, Stuart Avenue and Draycott Old Road.  The department was fully aware of the noise issue.

Even on the A50 nowadays there is a thirty-foot high embankment running alongside the road, designed to prevent noise travelling over to the Draycott community.  However, when the wind is blowing at you, despite the embankment, the noise is still pretty intense – low-level of course, but constant.  Some residents have described it as a ‘stress’ torture.

A50 bridge construction

A number of underpasses were built to keep contact between Draycott and Cresswell

But – the engineers may not be at fault completely.  It seems that they may have underestimated the huge use the A50 would get.   After all, it was actually planned as the ‘Tean Bypass’ when it was built – whereas now, it is, in reality, the north Midlands link between the M1 and M6!

Protest

For over twenty years, Draycott residents have been complaining to the government.  Studies had shown that changing the surface material would reduce ‘impressible’ noise by a quarter.

The major push was in 1999, when a petition was put together, organised by the parish council of the day. It garnered thousands of signatures, took one year’s effort & work, and eventually reached the minister in charge – and precisely nothing happened…

Since then the parish council has continued to keep in touch, almost on a monthly basis, with the Department of Transport, but nothing alters.  As one former parish council chairman glumly remarked to us – there is almost no point in keeping on trying; they have never listened…

The latest attempt was earlier this year, when our MP Bill Cash wrote to John Hayes detailing areas of importance for noise mitigation to be considered.  Mr Hayes simply replied “There are no immediate plans to resurface the A50 – as the road surface is in a safe and serviceable condition”.
As far as road builders (and the government) are concerned, concrete is fantastic.  It needs few or no repairs, and has a life expectancy of forty years.  Yes, it’s much more difficult to dig up than asphalt is – but who needs to dig up the A50?

Will change happen?

So, if all the above is true… why was the Doveridge stretch of the A50 (near Uttoxeter) recently replaced??  Well, the whisper is that the Uttoxeter Labour MP Janet Dean absolutely worked her socks off (until she lost her seat in 2010) to make sure it happened.
So… she has shown us that change can be achieved.

Also, road builders are using concrete less and less, because of the environmental issues.

A50 stretch

The A50 today

To try to put a dent in the government’s intransigence, this year the parish council has decided to change tactics.   Mark Deaville, the newly-elected council’s vice chairman, has taken on the task of spear-heading the efforts to create change.  This is the first time the council has appointed one of its own members to take on the task personally (in the past, it has often relied on the clerk to do the work) – and this is surely an advance.
Mark is a vastly experienced politician, so he is the obvious person for the job.  If you have views, contact him: he wants to hear from you.

Comments?

Now… it’s over to you.
Do you have views about having to put up with thirty years of A50 noise pollution?
If you do, join the Draycott Facebook group – and get talking!
Or … why not jot down your thoughts in the Comments section further down this web-page?
What you say could make a difference…..

[References:  History of Draycott-en-le-Moors by Matthew Pointon, pg174 / Photos courtesy of the Barry Phillips Collection ]

The trouble with Draycott’s bus service

The Stunner newspaper has been carrying stories recently about the cuts in bus services in parts of the Moorlands.  Of course, in Draycott, we know all about cuts in bus services.

Two years ago, we had four bus services in the village, including an hourly bus service to Hanley – the X50, the 249, the 184, and the 7.
Now we only have the 4 service, the Stone to Longton bus which runs through our area (through Cresswell and along to Blythe Bridge).  Even that only runs – depending on which direction you want to go – three times a day!

This is a pretty miserable state of affairs, but it seems like everybody has more or less accepted that this is the way things have to be.

totmonslow bus shelter

The bus shelter at Totmonslow has no function any more…

Bizarrely, it means we now have two completely redundant bus-shelters in Draycott – the one at Totmonslow and the one by the Draycott Arms – as, no buses call at them anymore.

Find out by text

So, with so few buses, what bothers us most is missing the bus.
Bennetts, which operate the 4, are pretty good at not leaving a bus-stop too early – but, they are a small bus-company, and sometimes a bus will be suddenly cancelled.
How do we know if a bus has been cancelled??

Well, if you have a mobile phone, you can find out.

All bus stops in the UK have been allocated an eight letter ‘SMS code’.  To use the Traveline SMS service, simply text the eight-letter SMS code to 84268 and you will receive a text back telling you when the next bus is due from that stop.
As an example, the code for the Draycott Stuart Avenue bus-stop is ‘stagmgtg’, so you would just text that to 84268: and within a few seconds you would get a reply with the times of the next bus.
That’s a relief at least.
(To see the timetable for the 4, click here.  To see the SMS codes for your nearest stops, you need to scroll down the page, past the timetables, to get to them.)

Paper timetables

But sometimes it’s also nice to have a proper paper timetable at the bus-stops; and one thing some people have complained to us about is the lack of them.
Yes, at Cresswell bus-shelter some kind soul has put up a timetable, but the others in Draycott have none, or just one that is out of date.

Is it so hard for the parish council to organise a few volunteers to make sure that paper timetables are up at the bus-shelters?

Day out

But – to show we are not completely miserable (!) – here is one bus-user who is happy: one lady told us she uses the bus for her special weekly day out.  And it sounded fun…

What she does is catch the 10.22 from near her home – to Blythe Bridge.  She has a bit of breakfast at the cafe opposite the mini-Tesco, then uses the public toilet by the library (!), then has a flutter at the betting shop (yes, she does..), then reads the papers at the library, then buys some bread at the Tesco  – and then comes back on the 1.05pm.
It does her nicely, she says.  So… at least someone likes the buses!

***
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News: lengthsman post / speed limits / Tai Chi / Labour’s man

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-September 2014 
News of…:  vacancy for a lengthsman / speed limits campaign hots up / Tai Chi classes / Labour’s election candidate …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Is forty too much?

The debate about speed limits in Draycott may be coming to a head.    As we have reported in the past, a few local people would like to see the stretch up the bank from the Draycott Arms (going in the Tean direction) changed from a 40mph limit to a 30mph.
That stretch of road is not only narrow, but has no pavement for around a ten-yard length. Police traffic teams have been in action in the area recently, and, yes, caught a number of speeding motorists…

Road sign near Draycott Arms

Road sign just up from Draycott Arms

So, what’s happening?
Mark Deaville, who as well as being a Draycott parish councillor is also the county councillor responsible for transport issues, has been talking to local newspapers – and told them he has made formal representations to the Highways Department to get the speed-limit at the Draycott Arms lowered.
He tells us that he’ll be meeting highways officers this week to check on how his proposal is being received.

Meanwhile, another Draycott parish councillor, John Ford, said he is starting a petition calling on local people to support the campaign to get the speed limit lowered.  John, who is also landlord at The Draycott Arms, said: “I am not prepared to wait until there are fatalities there. The road there is just like Brands Hatch!”
You’ll find copies of the petition, ready for signing, at his pub.

Watch this space…

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Are you handy?

Draycott Parish Council is looking for a ‘lengthsman’ for this district. The post would be suitable for a person with time on their hands.

But, you may ask, what is a lengthsman??
In fact, it’s an ancient term, but basically a lengthsman is simply a handy-person.  Their principal role is to carry out minor highway maintenance – clearing drainage areas, trimming hedges, keeping signs and local sites maintained, minor painting jobs and that sort of thing.  The lengthsman (who can be male or female) works on their own, usually using their own tools.

Interested?  Contact the Parish Clerk, Mary Edwards – on 01782 394807  or by email.

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Sam’s Labour’s man

Well, you can tell a general election is around the corner.  All the local politicians are doing their utmost to get coverage!
We notice for instance that our local MP, Bill Cash, has suddenly started writing a column for the local newspaper…

Meanwhile, Labour has just announced its candidate for the Stone constituency (Draycott falls into the Stone constituency): a young man called Sam Hale. You may remember Sam as a former member of the UK Youth Parliament (for Cheadle); and as a recipient of the Princess Diana Memorial Award for his service to this community.

Sam Hale

Sam Hale

Expect to see Sam and Bill knocking on our doors sometime soon.

The general election takes place in May next year.  Not only will there be parliamentary elections, but also elections for local councils.
In fact, all seats on Draycott Parish Council are up for grabs – so if you think you might want to stand for this parish next May, it’s worth starting to think about it soon.

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Get fit gently

We forgot to mention the Dojo Centre when we were mentioning the range of local keep-fit classes in a recent post.
As well as all the multifarious classes at the Draycott Sports Centre, the nearby Tatsu Kai Dojo Centre (on Blythe Business Park) also offers a wide range of fitness activities.  Its latest offering is TaiChi on a Tuesday night at 6:30pm for an hour.

TaiChi is very gentle, but, because it calls for concentration, it’s a great way of toning up.  The first lesson is free – so it’s well worth just taking a look.
Contact Tara for more info or just turn up.

***
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 find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

NEWS: petty crime / buses’ decline / fun days / planning appeal

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2014 
News of…:  anti-social behaviour stats / another decline in bus services / fun night at Draycott Sports Centre / planning appeal for turbine …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Petty crime

Many of us have been puzzled by the spate of petty vandalism and anti-social behaviour which seems to have affected the local area over the last year.
It came to a head at the end of last month when a car window was smashed in Draycott Old Road and the car taken – the car was later stopped by police and four people arrested.

The local MP, Bill Cash, said in his weekly column for the Leek Post that Checkley Ward (the ward that Draycott is in) shows above-average anti-social behaviour incidents for the Moorlands as a whole.  (However, it is true that most of those are likely to be in the denser population area of Tean).

The Police ‘crime map’ is one easy way to access these statistics, while the Neighbourhood Watch ‘crime map’ has a slightly different analysis.

It could be just a blip – but, still, it’s a puzzle.

– – –
Buses? What buses?

It’s strange to think that only eighteen months ago, we had four bus services running through Draycott, including an hourly service to Hanley.
Now, we have just the two, very infrequent services, the 4 and the 182; and one of them (the 182) is, in reality, a school bus run!
It seems a pretty sad state of affairs.

Draycott Parish Council discussed the issue at the beginning of the summer; one councillor remarked that there was little or nothing to be done about the situation.

– – –

Books at Cresswell kiosk

The book-swap scheme, which is open to all, at the Cresswell Information Centre kiosk seems to be going well.  Is that a Jodi Picoult novel there?

– – –
Planning news – solar farm and wind turbine

As everyone expected, the proposed solar farm at Newton (see main article) did get planning approval, and will probably be up and running by the Spring of 2015.

Interestingly enough, the planning application for a wind turbine in fields near Draycott Cross has still not been resolved.
It was something of a surprise when it was turned down last March, and, not surprisingly, the farmer involved put in a pretty quick appeal.
It’s not a giant turbine, and in a remote place, so one suspects its chances at appeal may be good.

Interestingly enough, the Moorlands pundit, Gary Shenton, who writes a weekly opinion column for the Leek Post, penned an article saying that local people may do well not to automatically oppose the smaller wind turbines.  He thinks that the environmental issue is now so strong, we may need more turbines to help our futures.

– – –
Motown and doubles!

There are a couple of big events coming up at the Draycott Sports Centre,

On Sunday 21st September, the ‘Greg Bradshaw Memorial Cup’ event take place,  This doubles tennis tournament is a tribute to Greg, a keen tennis player at the club, who died last year after being hit by a car.  All proceeds from entry fees go to the Midlands Air Ambulance.
If you want to go along to watch, you have not been forgotten, as there will be a major raffle, and refreshments on site during the play.

Marvelettes

We hope they play some Marvelettes at the Motown night…  (Thanks to Classic Motown Timeline for the pic)

Just a few weeks later at the centre, there is to be what looks like a real fun night.  The club is hosting a Motown Soul Night on Saturday 11th October from 7:30pm till late….. Everybody is elcome, and there is a bar of course. Tickets are £5 adult, £2:50 per child.
Spread the word!

(Also: don’t forget there is a new adult pay-and-play racketball opportunity starting on Tuesday 16th September at the centre).

***
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 find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.