Category Archives: volunteering

NEWS: Potholes / rail history / fayre plea / elections soon

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in Early Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  potholes reappear / uncovering history / help the Fayre! / stand for election … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & 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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Return of the Potholes

Well, it hasn’t been that bad of a winter, but, even so, potholes are back.

Cresswell is really badly affected.
The most vicious pothole is at the collapsed drain-cover on the southbound bank, up to the cricket club. As it’s on a slope it’s hard to see it, until you hit it – often with a nasty crack.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell. On a slope, it can be hard to spot

Meanwhile on Sandon Road, at the point where traffic enters & exits off the business park, numerous little potholes have appeared, making the road all pitted. It’s the effect of all the HGVs coming and going off the park, of course.

Blythe Business Park potholes

Potholes on road outside Blythe Business Park in Cresswell – looks like the surface of the moon!

And it will only get worse if the developers/owners of the park get their way and planning permissions are altered to allow them to use this entry for construction wagons too. (A decision on that is expected in April).

So… drive carefully!

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Please help the Fayre

For over twenty-five years, Draycott has held a successful summer fayre.
All the work that goes into it is by local volunteers, and all the profits (which average around £5000) are ploughed back into maintaining the crumbling fabric of our ancient church of St Margaret’s.
Because we have lost our school, our shops, even our football club, there are very few occasions now when the village comes together to celebrate together – this event is virtually the last.

So – it wouldn’t be a good thing if the fayre did not happen.
But that is what is possible.

Because… a lot of the people who put in the effort year after year say they are getting on – and they now want to hand over to new blood so they can just take a rest!
One can sympathise.
Fortunately for us, John Clarke has agreed to stay on as Coordinator, so at least there is still a steady hand at the helm.

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

The Zazu dancers, who appeared at the fayre in 2009…

Can YOU help? From just looking after the car-park on the day, to selling raffle-tickets, to making phone-calls – there are a range of tasks from the small to the significant.

This Wednesday (13th Feb), there is a meeting at the church at 7.30. Why not go along, see if you like what you see, and if you do, ask what you can do…

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Rail history coming to light

Railway Cottages Lane in Cresswell is a bit off the beaten track, but a few people have been down that way recently – partly to check out Number Four (which is currently for sale) and partly to look into a planning application site there (the plans have since been turned down).
Part of that planning pre-process was the creation of a new track on the site, which, by chance, has uncovered a lovely industrial structure, part of Cresswell’s history: a rail platform for goods loading.Cresswell platform1Cresswell Railway Station, which was over 100 years old when it finally closed, was at the junction of the Stoke-Derby line and the Cheadle Branch line. It closed to passenger traffic in 1966, but stayed open for industrial traffic (carrying mainly sand from Cheadle) for another twenty years.
The uncovered structure is part of a small goods yard handling such freight.

Matthew Pointon, the historian of Draycott, thinks that he remembers that the platform was actually inside a large goods shed, which was demolished in the 80s or 90s.
The new track is private property, but you can see the platform easily because the new track is right next to the lane. Nice, isn’t it?

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Candidates required

The elections for Draycott-in-the-Moors Council are just around the corner – May in fact.
But first we need at least seven candidates to stand for election; signed nominations must be in by the beginning of April.

This year, more than one councillor on Draycott Council has spoken of standing down and not seeking re-election. Though it’s not a particularly tough role, or even requiring much to do, still, it’s a responsibility – and some of the current members have been doing it for many years, so they think it’s time to hand the baton on.

So… are YOU interested? There’s a quick run-down on whether and if you’d be eligible by clicking here. As you will see, you don’t even have to live in Draycott / Cresswell / Totmonslow to be eligible…!

The first thing to do though, if you are interested, is to make sure you are on the Electoral Register (though it doesn’t matter which county you are registered in, so long as it’s somewhere in the UK). That’s essential.
If you’re interested in the tiny ins & outs, you could attend the special meetings in Leek on Wednesday 6th March and on Tuesday 12th March, but it’s really not essential.
If you think you’d like to give it a go, contact the Draycott Council Clerk who will be able to give helpful advice.

And the best of British luck!!

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

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

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

750th birthday for village church

A milestone event for Draycott takes place this weekend – the 750th birthday party on Saturday (20th Oct) when there is a history day, with speakers and displays and refreshments; while on the Sunday there is a special church service, at which a banner outlining the village’s history will be unveiled.
Click here for details of these events.

Saving our heritage

Until recent years, it’s been assumed that parish churches are the responsibility of no one but the church congregations.
But nowadays it’s different – parish churches, especially one as ancient as St Margaret’s, are seen to be part of all our comon communal heritage, so all us local residents (believers or not) have a part to play in saving that heritage.
Draycott Church postcard

At St Margaret’s, a small team of such dedicated volunteers have been doing amazing stuff to preserve the church.
The ancient bells have been renovated (some of them are 500 years old!); in and around the churchyard, the pathways have been upgraded, including the public footpath; the leaking roof has been fixed, at great expense; open days are now held once a month over the summer; and the chimes were restored only a few months ago, to now make a lovely sound on the hour.

Cresswell resident John Clarke is the ‘front-man’ on many of these projects, but he is flanked by quite a few other hard-working locals. For instance, one reason that the ‘new’ churchyard is so well maintained is that a Church Lane resident voluntarily hauls his lawn-mower over there to cut the grass every so often!

Research

The church’s local historians never stop their work either.
We have reported down the years on the research documents compiled by enthusiasts about the church, not to mention the church guides (see list of documents).
One of the most interesting of these was very hard to get hold of up to now; but, the good news is that it has now become much more accessible. We’re referring the record of the gravestones in the churchyard. This might sound like a morbid read, but to a family historian it is fascinating!

The original project to record all the St Margaret’s gravestones and their inscriptions goes back to 1982 when members of the Draycott Women’s Institute got out their wellies and their magnifying glasses to go study the nearly 300 gravestones – every one of them – and faithfully record what they saw.
This document was only photo-copied into four brochures however (then sent off to various libraries) and it has been very hard for the ordinary person to get hold of it. Well, that’s all changed now: if you have a computer, you can now download the whole document for just £3 ! (Click on this link to see).

Just a casual read of the record throws up all sorts of quirky history. For example, the record for Gravestone 228 reads: “Here lieth ye body of ELLIZ daughter of NATHANIEL TAYLOR Rector of Checkley. Of ANN dau; JAMES WHITEHALL Rector of Checkley of JOHN SHERRATT Rector of Draycott who died July 1725.” It certainly sounds like the families of these various rectors (i.e. vicars) were very close!
The record has since been updated by Annita Mobbs (1988), Alf Beard (2002) and Marion Hall (2010); and now includes burials in the ‘new’ churchyard as well.

Fundraising

All these projects, whether structure projects or research projects, have not cost the tax-payer a penny. The money to achieve them has been raised through donations, grants and the sheer hard work of fundraising.
(The only input by the Staffs Moorlands district council is that they cut the grass in the ‘old’ churchyards.)

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Donations are becoming a big thing. You’ve probably noticed in the local newspaper-obituaries how a few folk now are leaving something in their wills “for the upkeep of the parish church”. The same is happening here in Draycott: the late Jean Edwards (born a Shelley, a family known for its support of the church) even wanted donations to the church at her funeral instead of flowers – a generous gesture.

These days, the history of our local villages is fast disappearing. Historic buildings are being pulled down (remember what happened to Painsley Hall?) or ‘renovated’; pubs are closing all the time (remember the Izaak Walton?); long-established village societies just fold; and even old schools disappear (e.g. the one that used to be in Church Lane).
Parish churches are often all that’s left intact of a village’s communal past.

So… if you ever find yourself with an extra few quid, and you want to see the collective memories of this village preserved, why not think of dropping a cheque off to St Margaret’s? If you want the money used only for repairs and restoration, simply mark your cheque “for the repair fund only”.
And… you never know… St Margaret’s might even make it to its 1000th birthday!

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History Day Event details

History Open Day at Draycott St Margaret’s Church on Sat 20 October from 1pm, with displays marking the church’s 750th anniversary, including photos from the last 100 years. Local historian Levison Wood will also guide a group around the village from 2pm; and another local historian Matthew Pointon will gave a talk in the church from 3pm.
Refreshments will be available. Free; no booking required.

Service of Celebration at Draycott St Margaret’s Church on Sunday 21 October at 10am, marking the church’s 750th anniversary. The Bishop Of Stafford is attending. All welcome, whether regular attenders or not.
Refreshments follow the service.
A specially-made banner, outlining the village’s history will be unveiled after the service.

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

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

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More flexibility at the doctor’s – but…

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

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

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

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

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Fresh lick of paint

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

Bus shelter

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

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

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

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

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Badgers in cull

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

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

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

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

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Good news for greyhounds

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

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

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

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

Place of sporting excellence

What an outdoors-y summer it has been! There has been no excuse at all not to get out and enjoy the weather … and our local sports facilities are certainly benefiting.
In fact, Draycott & Cresswell is now a centre for sporting excellence in many ways…

Best coaches and best support

If you want proof of just how well-regarded our local sport is in the rest of the region, look no further than the latest crop of awards.

At the Staffordshire Moorlands 2018 Sports Awards, around half of the accolades went to folk based here in this village!

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Sports Team of the Year went to Blythe Cricket Club’s 1st XI, who won the NSSCL First Division title with more wins in a season than any in the league’s history.
The Sport Across Staffordshire (SAS) Volunteer of the Year was Angie Heathcote, who has been the managing hand in Blythe Cricket Club’s financial success.
And Sports Coach of the Year went to Tara Burndred of the Tatsu Dojo Club in Cresswell.

Meanwhile congratulations are also in order to Mike Heath at Draycott Tennis Centre; he won the ‘Tennis Staffordshire’ Volunteer of the Year Award (which is part of the national British Tennis Awards).

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only are our people among the best, so are the facilities.

Upgrades

As we all know ‘Draycott Racquet & Fitness Club’ – to give it its full title – offers tennis, indoor-tennis, squash, badminton, and gym. Classes on site include spinning.

In the last few years, they’ve refurbished the gym and squash areas but now they’re pushing on further – by investing over £20,000 into new equipment. Yes, on their way (as we speak) are eight new Impulse Machines, two New Star Trac Treadmills and additional free-weights. Lockers will also be installed.
Work is ongoing, but should be finished by the end of this month. Why not go along and check it out then for yourself?

Surely it’s that forward-looking attitude that has helped the club to produce its first world-ranked tennis player – Elliott Farmer .
Elliott achieved his world ranking in doubles earlier this year when he competed in the Tunisia F18 Doubles – reaching the semi-finals, which means he is now world-ranked. Congrats to him!
Elliott has been training for over 10 years now at Draycott (with his main coach here being Craig Leese). He is now also constantly travelling the world trying to achieve a world ranking in singles too. (Fortunately he has great sponsors – including the South Cheshire-based ABC Solutions company).

So… Draycott – a great place for high-class tennis.
And if you want to see some matches (almost as good as Wimbledon !), and see them for free, head down to the three-day long annual Draycott Open Tournament, which starts on August 5th.

Shiny new nets

Now, everyone pretty much knows the success story that has been the Cresswell-based Blythe Cricket Club over the past two years.
Not only did the club successfully bid for (and build) a new pavilion, costing some half-million pounds, but the first team achieved promotion to the NSSCL Premier Division in 2017, and this season are even challenging strongly for the championship.

But, again, success is built on great volunteers and by improving facilities. The most recent improvement has been the new nets, which replace the rather outdated old ones.

Not mentioned as often as it should be is the fact also that the club runs youngsters’ teams, with even an under-8’s team on the roster. There has been no women’s team since the last one folded in 2014, but (we’re told) the club has not stopped looking for a way to re-start it.

Bowling-yellow

However, one club that has had a slightly more difficult year than other local ones is the CP Outdoor Bowls Club, which is based on Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

A major distraction has been the future of the business park itself, which will be transformed over the next year with the development of extra infrastructure and industrial units & factories.
However, it does now look as though the bowling green is safe; and the club will continue.

The surface of the club’s green has of course been an issue this summer; three months of hot dry weather have taken their toll. What was a bowling-green is currently a bowling-yellow! (see pic below)Cresswell bowling green summer 2018
But long-time secretary Sue Stepek is stressing the advantages of playing this beautiful game to all who are thinking of an outdoor pursuit.
She says: “New members are always welcome. Newbies will have opportunities to play at most levels. But, if they just want to play for fun, ‘club afternoons’ take place every Thursday through the season (from about 2.00pm). Please contact 01782 396785 – and I’ll make sure someone is around to welcome you!”

Great place to stay sporty

And we haven’t mentioned all the fitness activities in the village we could have – there are keep-fit classes at the dance studios in Cresswell for instance as well – but space is against us…

But, when you think about all that’s here… then, how lucky are we????

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: 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.

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

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

– – –
Council resignation

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

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

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

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

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

– – –
Time for a sing-song

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

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

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

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

– – –
Planning neighbourliness

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

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

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

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

– – –
Getting down with the police

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

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

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

– – –
Council Shenanigans

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

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

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

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

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

And what has our Draycott Council done?
Erm.
Nothing.

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

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

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

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

NEWS: burglary / help for poor / pollution report … and more

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-February 2018
In this post we have news of…: restaurant burglary / local firm helps poorest / pollution report / summer fayre progress / un-open Forsbrook…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a pop-jazz band evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Chandni burglary

There have still been no arrests (at the time of writing) concerning the Chandni Cottage Restaurant burglary which took place two weeks ago (Feb 5th). A well-organised group of thieves broke into the restaurant, at the eastern end of Draycott, in the dead of night.
They smashed in a window at the back; and stole equipment, goods and some cash – causing around £10,000 worth of losses. They even took the charity tin.Chandni Cottage

The thieves managed to get away with some hefty pieces of kitchenware, which makes police think that they must have had a van, and been properly prepared, being as it was such a difficult operation.
The same gang may have even been behind some similar incidents across the area.

The thieves were pretty brazen, but let’s hope they made some mistake which will lead eventually to arrests. If you think you may know anything, there is a confidential police hotline – call 101 and mention “incident number 587”.
It’s been really distressing for the owner, Yasmeen Yacqub, but we are happy to say that she has since said she won’t be cowed, and will carry on whatever!

– – –
New Haden generosity

If the reports from the Cheadle Food Bank are anything to go by, the situation for the poorest in our community is getting worse and worse. Requests to them for emergency supplies have risen 30% on the same time last year.
The food bank hands out tinned and non-perishable goods to those who turn up to its drop-in sessions. The Cheadle group serves not just people from the town but the surrounding villages, such as Draycott.

However, the food bank organisers rely on people like us to keep a supply of goods going, so, because of the rise in need, they have launched an extra appeal for funds, this time specifically aimed at businesses.
We are pleased to say that the first firm to respond positively is one from our small district – New Haden Pumps in Draycott Cross Road, which has stepped in to donate £150. Well done to them.

– – –
The fun of the fayre

It’s already that time of year again, and the Draycott Fayre organisers have already started booking acts for the event, which returns in July.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

Parish councillor Pauline Clarke shows the 25 Years of Draycott Fayre banner last year

But now comes the nitty-gritty bit – who is doing what? …from hawking round posters to taking money on the gate.
The first meeting to discuss such matters takes place on March 2nd. Can you get along, and offer your services or thoughts?
Everyone who works putting the day together is a volunteer, from top to bottom – so, no matter how small, your contribution will be valuable. All are welcome at the meeting.
For details, click here

– – –
‘Missing’ notification

You might think our own local council here in Draycott is pretty bad when it comes to sharing information with its taxpayers (and it is) but the next-door council in Forsbrook takes the prize this month.
As must happen after the death of a councillor, which happened at the beginning of this year, a vacancy must be announced so that members of the public can put themselves forward for the post.
(In fact, some people in Draycott would have been eligible, as the locality rule means that residents for a few miles round are also able to stand).

So we watched the Forsbrook Council’s website, and we watched the council’s Facebook page. And we waited and waited. Nothing.
However, it then turned out that there was a notice after all – a piece of paper pinned to the council notice boards… but by then it was too late for us.

Forsbrook broke no rules in doing this, but, judging by this, they aren’t great fans of openness in local government, apparently preferring to keep such information under the radar, instead of trying to get the information out far and wide to as many people as possible.
So… who now gets to decide who will be the new, incoming councillor? Well…the councillors, of course!   They will now look for someone they themselves approve of, and ‘co-opt’ them.

– – –
Pollution report

As required by law, the developers who are soon to be building a housing estate and factories in Cresswell had to commission a report examining the state of the land on which they are about to build.
(The report, which must be carried out by a reputable land-analysis firm, looks for contaminants, floods risk etc.)
Well, the report has just been published. It is very lengthy and you probably need a degree to understand it fully, but it is important.

The local community-action group, VVSM, have been through the report and done their own review, breaking it down into simpler language. The review (click here to check it out), which also has links to the details of the report, is worth five minutes of any local resident’s reading time.

The biggest result is that the report’s authors admit finding contaminants in the soil, though they personally do not think there is enough there to halt the building. What they do recommend however is that a thick layer of fresh top-soil should be placed on the fields to act as a ‘buffer’ between the incoming residents and any nasty stuff down below.
The report’s authors admit too that there are simply locations across the site where they don’t know what will be found – until the digging starts. In fact, they recommend that construction workers, who will be moving in soon, wear protective clothing.

It’s all a bit worrying. The VVSM folk point out that, when cadmium in the earth is disturbed, it often just floats into the air; and, yes, cadmium is believed to be buried there somewhere.
In the end, the people of Cresswell (and the incoming residents of the planned estates) must rely on two things – the honesty of the construction firm which is honour-bound to report any unexpected finds, and the diligence of the local authority’s environment officers, who are supposed to monitor the excavations.  Erm, fingers crossed, eh?

***
This post has been edited since being originally published.

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: road-holes / yoga / trolls / eggs…

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

– – –
Drive (extra) carefully

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

Collapsed drain cover Draycott

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

Cresswell litter

Litter spot on Cresswell Lane

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

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

– – –
Stretch those limbs!

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

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

– – –
Omelettes anyone?

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

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

– – –
Stop trolling

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

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

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

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

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

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