NEWS: crazy street-naming / our Big Weekend / new Blythe Club captain

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2019
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Big Weekend / some crazy street-naming / cricket captain steps down… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including sports camps for youngsters…  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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Village’s big annual celebration

As everybody must know, it’s ‘Draycott’s Big Weekend’ this weekend!
Everything is taking place on Ford’s Field in the centre of the village. We have the Annual Car Boot Sale this Saturday morning, the Music Live Festival in the evening, and then all day on Sunday, the 29th Annual Draycott Fayre.
Once again, many congratulations to John Clarke and his merry band (all volunteers from the village), who’ve pulled together two days of entertainment to be truly proud of.

Viking conflict

The ‘Vikings’ enjoy themselves with fighting!

The big attraction will be of course The Y Draig Vikings – a re-enactment group who take not only their camp-fires seriously but also their blood-curdling battle action! Really worth seeing…
For some (mentioning no names) there are also the delights of the Draycott Beer Experience in which the Draycott Arms will be providing a range of wonderful ales, not just all day Sunday in the fayre refreshment tent, but also in the grand marquee at the Saturday night live-music event.

For full details of everything – from the funfair, the vintage car rally, kids’ stuff, the bands and the ferrets (!) – click on the official Draycott Fayre website.
By the way, you’ll notice some innovations – first, under-18s can now get in free; and you can now buy tickets online (no lining up in queues!) – with a discount if you buy a combined weekend pass.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - Wibberley Family

The Wibberley Family ran the fayre refreshments stall for many years

One sad note though – the long-running Wibberley Family Tea-Shop will not have a presence this year at the fayre… and will be sadly missed.
However, the staff at Draycott Moor College have stepped into the breach, so, no worries… there will be tea & cakes after all!

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Captain hands over command

It’s the end of an era in Cresswell at Blythe Cricket Club because the club’s inspirational first-team captain Peter Finch has just stepped down from the role – and has handed over to a new leader.

Team-Club winner - Blythe Crcket club 1st XI

Peter Finch, right, receiving the Moorlands Best Team award for Blythe last year

Peter is Blythe through and through of course.
He demanded a lot of his men but, in 2017, he and the club got the rewards when Blythe were promoted to the NSCCL Premier League for the first time in their history.
Then followed a fantastic first season in the Premier when the team, which had looked a good bet for the championship for most of the season, only faltered in the last stages.

However, this season has not been so kind to Blythe’s First XI, and the team is languishing in the relegation zone, having only achieved their first win of the year at the end of last month.
Peter is handing over to Rob Ginders – and it may not be a bad thing for Peter; because, as an excellent bowler, he’ll now be able to concentrate on what he does so well, i.e. getting the batsmen out!

However, all is not total gloom for the team.
On Sunday 21st, at the Cresswell Lane ground, Blythe take on Cheadle in the semi-final of the Sentinel Talbot Cup. It’ll be something of a needle match between these two great rivals – so why not get along?
Guaranteed… some great cricket….

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You may not believe your eyes…

Regular readers of this website will know that we’ve been following the rather astonishing story of the Cresswell Old Lane road-sign for nearly six years now – and it’s still not resolved!

If you remember, back in 2013, some residents complained to Staffordshire Moorlands Council that the lane’s street-sign had been wrongly written up . SMDC took no notice sadly of the objection, so in 2017, the village council was asked put its weight behind the complaint … and in 2018, a new sign was finally put up.

But…
It was completely wrong. (Again).
This was pointed out to SMDC.
So they replaced the road-sign last month (this is now the THIRD version).
But…
It was completely wrong. Again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We look forward to seeing Version Number Four!!!

***
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(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

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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.

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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

The Warrilows of Paynsley

There are many long-established family-names in this district, whose members have formed the warp & weft of the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors – the Vavasours, the Shelleys, the Perrys, the Bostocks and so on.
Another one of these is the Warrilow family, and there has been some recent research on them – which we have now pulled together here.

Though the Warrilows were not rich, they are very old, were rebels of a sort, …and they stored hidden treasure…!
But they are also rooted here. In the 1891 census, Staffordshire had the highest population of Warrilow families of any county.

Disappeared hamlet

The Warrilows have a long history round here, perhaps as long as the Draycott family itself, which goes back to Norman times.
In fact, in his book on the history of Draycott, Matthew Pointon reminds us that in medieval times, there was a hamlet called Warelow here, part of the manor of Paynsley (i.e. in southern Cresswell).  We don’t know where it was though, and whatever settlement was there is now gone of course.

We also know there were Warrilows round here then because another of our local historians Lev Wood found one in an old tax record. He tells us: “Adam Warrilow was living in the vicinity of Draycott in 1327, where he paid 2 shillings in tax for the Scottish War Levy.  And Adam is still there in 1332 paying the same in the Subsidy Roll.” (See these rolls at the bottom of this page).

But in the 16th century, misfortune hit this family.
Basically, King Henry VIII decided Catholicism was no longer to be the state religion, and anybody who decided to keep the ‘old faith’ would suffer.
As we know, the lords of the manor here, the Draycotts, were fiercely Catholic, and indeed, they did suffer, mostly through large taxation and ‘exclusion’ from public life. (See: the story of Anthony Draycott).
The Warrilows however, it seems, decided to stick with their lords; and they did not convert to the new Anglican religion, but stayed with the old Catholic faith.

The seventeenth century

The local Warrilows pop up again with mention of a John Warrilow in Draycott, dated 1607. And also, in the 1666 Hearth Tax, several families by the name of ‘Worriloe’ are recorded as living in the parish. (Spelling was often erratic up until modern times!)

The word ‘Warelow’ also gets a mention in a brass plate which can be seen in St Margaret’s Church to this day.

Tickeridge inscription at St Margaret's Church

Tickeridge inscription – as recorded by NADFAS historians

The old plate remembers Thomas Tickeridge who “departed this life at Warelow House in ye parish of Draycott” in 1658.
Warelow House no longer exists, but we do know that Thomas also lived at Paynsley Hall (in southern Cresswell) for a time, so, presumably, this house was one of the smaller houses on the Paynsley manor… and had clearly got its name from the Warrilows.

More ominously, Warrilows figure in 1641, when an official count of recusants (old Catholics) was made (with Philip Draycott at the top of the list).
This was not a list you wanted to be on.  By this time, most people had converted to Anglicanism and Catholics were regarded very suspiciously – almost as potential terrorists – so the list of recusants was small, only twenty-six long for the whole parish. But among these names was… John Warrilow.

Catholic centre

By the seventeenth century, the connection between the Warrilows and Cresswell gets even stronger.

We know there was a Joseph Warrilow (died 1764) who lived at ‘Leeshouses’ in Cresswell. (Leese House Farm still exists today – and has an interesting story of its own – see article).
It is this Joseph who is one of the characters in a story of treasure – see this story further down this page!

Paynsley 1880 survey map

The 1880 map of southern Cresswell. In the top left is Rookery Farm (mistakenly called Leese House Farm), just down from that is Leesehouses,  and in the bottom right is Paynsley Hall & Farm. The thick grey line is the main railway. (Double-click this image to enlarge it)

Remember that the land in Cresswell round Paynsley was all part of the estate of the aristocratic Langdales (and then the Stourtons), who had succeeded to it when the Draycotts had died out – so the Warrilows would have been tenant farmers to them. And the Stourtons were also Catholic.
So, interestingly, Leese House becomes a sort of semi-secret centre for Roman Catholics. By this time (the mid eighteenth century) Catholics are just about tolerated, though still not allowed to practise openly or hold public office.

Hidden treasure

By the early nineteenth century the Warrilows are also farming from a site 100 yards from Leese House – at Rookery Farm. (There is nothing left of this today except a cattle-shed behind Rookery Crescent in Cresswell). However, in 1846 a startling discovery is made at Rookery Farm: hidden treasure!

During repairs to the farm, a recess inside the chimney is uncovered and in it is an oak chest. This chest contains valuable church silver and some ancient priestly vestments.
It turns out that, back during the Reformation of the sixteenth century, royal officers were ransacking churches for anything valuable, so the Draycott Catholic faithful at St Margaret’s had secretly taken away such things and hidden them – probably in a chest at Paynsley Hall to start with.
However, when Paynsley Hall is sold in 1751, the local Catholic priest takes the chest with him to Rookery Farm; and asks Joseph Warrilow, a good Catholic, to hide it.

After the chest is found, the silver and vestments are given to the Catholic community at Leese House, but the chest itself is returned to St Margaret’s, where it can be seen to this day.

Old chest at St Margaret's

Old chest – now returned to St Margaret’s where it can be seen today

The farming Warrilows leave

The tenancy to Rookery Farm stays with the Warrilows; and another Joseph farms there until 1863, when his son John takes over – at which time Joseph and his wife retire to Eccleshall (near Stafford).
But there, sadly, the story of the farming connection apparently ends. John and his wife Ann die young, in 1871, and their orphaned children go to Eccleshall to be with their grandparents.

However, other local Warrilows of course do go on.
Their steadfastness in the Catholic faith is seen in the Warrilow gravestones at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Cresswell (which was built in 1829, shortly after Catholics were granted freedom of worship in this country) – William Warrilow, who died in 1901, is one of the last of the family-name to be buried there.

Further down this page, see lots of comments on this article. If you too have comments, please scroll down and use the message box at the bottom of the page.

++ References
If you want to walk to see the sites of Rookery Farm, Leese House and Paynsley Hall, a public footpath connects them all. See Cresswell Footpath.
You can see the 1880 map more clearly by clicking here.
The survey of St Margaret’s Church carried out by NADFAS is available to buy. See St Margaret’s publications
More Warrilows can be found in the ‘Draycott Parish Registers 1669-1900’ publication.
Fourteenth Century taxation rolls are pictured below –  thanks to Lev Wood for finding them.  (Adam Warrilow is listed here, but his name is spelt Warylowe) Draycott roll 1327

NEWS: annual assembly / last week for Colours / green bowls back

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2019
In this post we have news of…: promoting the village assembly / Colour-Works exhibition last week / go bowling in Cresswell… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including ballroom-dancing lessons…  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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Annual gathering

The ‘annual assembly’ for our district of Draycott-in-the-Moors took place earlier this month.
An ‘annual assembly’ is a 100 year-old tradition, at which residents of rural villages come together for one evening in the year – to hear what their local organisations are up to, and to discuss some of the issues facing the village.

At our own 2019 Draycott Villagers’ Assembly, there were speakers from six organisations, (though, sadly, the speaker we most wanted to hear from, the manager of the Blythe CC Community Hub, was not present). All speakers were informative, and well-received.

However, what was disappointing was the level of attendance. Barring the speakers and their supporters, barely half-a-dozen other people attended.

So… perhaps it is time it is handled a different way…
Up to now, the organisation and publicity for this event has been left each year to the local council’s chairperson (even though this is not actually a council meeting) but, down the years, the assembly has never been the successful event it should be, suffering from poor publicity and confusion over its aims.
So, is it time a people’s working-party was formed – with the ambition to make this gathering the central success for the neighbourhood that it really should be?

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Blythe spirit

Congratulations to the Cheadle History Discovery Group and to Blythe Bridge Library, who, between them, have produced a fascinating exhibition about the history of Blythe Colour Works. This huge works dominated life in Cresswell for almost one hundred years, from the 1890s.
From photos to ‘specimen’ crockery, there’s interesting stuff to see.

A laboratory at the Blythe Colour Works, sometime around 1930

It was a bit of a surprise to learn from the exhibition that not only did the factory supply colours to pottery firms (including Wedgwood, Royal Doulton etc), but it also supplied industries that made plastics, glass, and even jewellery!

The exhibition is into its last week now at Blythe Bridge library so you still have time to go along to see it.
If you want something to whet your appetite, click here to see a little YouTube slideshow of the best of the exhibition.
The exhibition is free to enter.

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Bowling along

Welcome back to our local bowlers!
The outdoor season has just started again for the bowls club which plays on the green at Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

Cresswell bowling green in summer 2018

Cresswell bowling green – after a rather dry spell!

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary told us: “We still have 3 teams, aiming to give everyone who wants it a chance to play at every level; and we always welcome new members to join this friendly club”.

However, if you don’t want to join one of the teams as such, but just would enjoy a casual session instead, then ‘club afternoons’ are for you. They take place on Thursdays.
Sue can be contacted on 01782 396785 if you want more details.

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Time to reflect

In a recent post, we welcomed the new members that have been elected, and will create a new version of Draycott Council.
However, as we know, the future can only work properly if we remember the past. And sadly, the past – that is, the record of the previous version of Draycott Council over the last few years – was not a completely proud one.

So, what we have done is compiled a review of the 2015-2019 council’s achievements (and/or failings) as a kind of school-report. Click here to see the full review.
We hope that residents (including the new councillors) will read it and see that there is a need to find ways in which improvement and reform can happen – so that we can have a model village council in the future instead.

***
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

Draycott Council – a five-year review

Earlier this month, we saw the 2019 Annual Meeting of Draycott-in-the-Moors Council.  (The council oversees not just Draycott, but Cresswell, Totmonslow, Draycott Cross and Draycott Waste).
During such an annual meeting a council will often look back over its last few years, especially the last twelve months, to see what has been achieved…. if anything. In an election year (as this one is), it will also look back at the achievements of the outgoing council … if there were any.

This year, the summary of such achievements was presented by the Draycott Council chairperson, Pat McLaughlin.
Naturally, this summary (being presented by a politician as it is…), will often mention the good stuff, and often ‘forget’ the disappointing stuff – so it is left up to us, the residents, to remember the other side of the coin, and make sure it is not forgotten.

Having said that, we do now have a ‘new’ council – nearly half the members are only recently elected,since the election only three weeks ago -, so it is a bit unfair to load on it too many of the failings of the past – but, for the sake of the record, and in the hope that the new members will avoid the mistakes of the old members, here goes…

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Summary – Draycott Council 2014-2019

What we have thought is to do is to look back over the last few years, i.e. over the time of the outgoing council, and check out the different categories in which village councils have duties, and to see how Draycott Council scores…. and then mark each aspect out of five * (stars).
This scoring is subjective and ours alone – other residents may have other views.

*Control of finances – 2*
~   Over the last six years, Draycott has demanded huge tax increases; in one year (2014) it even demanded a 24% council-tax rise for itself!  In fact the council’s average annual tax-rise demand in this period has been 8% … at a time when inflation in the country as a whole was floating around 2%…!
In contrast, other comparable councils, such as nearby Dilhorne, have stayed under the inflation rate.
However, the extra money has not been used for unexpected or ambitious projects.  The only significant project has been in maintenance, with the repair of the roofs of two bus shelters.
The council is now sitting on a large reserve.

Communication with residents – 1*
One of the most frequent promises made by politicians is that they wish to reach out to their public and ‘communicate’.   It’s also one of the promises that is hardly ever kept … especially in Draycott.
~   Despite repeated promises (the last one being by the chairperson in 2017), Draycott Council has not issued any newsletters to the community for six years.
~   The council’s website is just a ‘bare minimum’ affair; it is barely up to what it is required to do by statute. In 2018, it only published one post. The council simply don’t take it seriously.
It just looks very untidy too – compare it to websites of other nearby councils which have much more informative and tidy websites (see Milwich Council’s website or Fulford Council’s website , or  indeed websites of all our surrounding parish councils).
~   It is within the council’s remit to set up working-groups, in which local residents and councillors work together to solve particular problems. Draycott Council only has two such groups – up to last month, both had not even met.
~   The councillors refuse to publish their email addresses either on Draycott Council’s own webpages or the official Local Government webpages. Compare that to the openness of neighbouring Milwich councillors’ approach or Checkley councillors, who all reveal their email addresses. As for those registers of interests – some councillors didn’t even list the address of the house they live in.

It is worth noting that the national body for parish councils, the NALC is so worried about the lack of community engagement seen in semi-rural councils like Draycott that they have set up a working party to urge local councils to develop this side of their work.

Leadership –  2*
Draycott village council has very few direct responsibilities; its main two are to consider planning applications and to monitor the local footpath network.  It has an incredibly poor record on both.
~ Draycott Council has put in a response to only one major planning application over the last five years.  It made no official response to:  the Cresswell Housing Estate proposal (for 168 homes); the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan 2018-2031 Final Version; the Cresswell Roundabout proposal; and the Blythe Vale Housing Estate proposal (for 118 homes).
This February (in election year…!) , it finally did make an official response to an important proposal – to the second Blythe Vale Housing Estate proposal (for 146 homes).
Over those same years, only one time has a Draycott councillor gone to Leek to voice the residents’ case at a planning meeting.
In contrast, one can name numerous other Moorlands parish councils who have risen to the challenge of large planning matters – Bagnall village council even commissioned reports, while others have led demonstrations.
~  There have been no published parish-footpaths surveys and/or annual reports, despite promises, in the last five years.
~  While other Moorlands villages press on gradually with their ‘neighbourhood plans’ processes, we have got nowhere here; in fact, here in Draycott, the process has collapsed three times over the last few years. At the last attempt, £2000 was spent on consultants before that attempt was wound up.  The current, fourth attempt looks doomed to go the same way.
~   A drive by the council to recruit residents for a speedwatch scheme also failed.

Transparency –  2*
Since 2015, when the government had to force secretive councils such as Draycott to openly publish the records of their meetings, ‘transparency’ has been a key word in how councils should behave.
However, the NALC is very worried that transparency is simply not being taken seriously.
Again, we would urge Draycott Council to start to be transparent.

~   On four occasions over the last five years, the council has decided to go into private session (when the public has to leave the hall). On all but one of those occasions, it was later proved they had no right to do so.
~  Publication of relevant documents. The council is required by statute to publish, by strict deadlines, a select list of documents on its website.  For example, it must “publish the finalised (or draft) minutes from all formal meetings not later than one month after the meeting has taken place”. Over 2015-19, Draycott failed to do this on twelve occasions; residents continually had to complain about the issue.
The council is also supposed to publish ‘supporting documents’ on the website. It almost never does.  In fact, the records of one of its sub-committees, the Personnel Sub-Committee, have never been published.
In contrast, nearby Milwich Council has made it crystal clear that they know their responsibilities and will stick to them, by publishing s stand-alone Transparency responsibilities webpage on its website.
~   In 2018, the councillors refused to reveal what public groups, other than the council, they are personally associated with. The council has also refused to reveal which members have (or have not) undertaken councillor training sessions. By contrast, Checkley parish councillors are completely open.
~   But, to be fair, some reforms were introduced in 2017, mostly at the insigation of the then clerk. It became easier for members of the public to get soemthing placed on a council agenda.

Conduct – 3*
~  The last couple of years have been pretty bad for Draycott Council’s reputation. Some unpleasant behaviour within the council was even exposed in the local papers (the clerk at the time even resigned in disgust). Separately, a councillor resigned in 2016, partly because of the treatment she said she’d suffered.
You’d have expected the council to launch an investigation into what exactly was happening and what was at the root of it.  They didn’t.
~   But, to be fair, most recent council meetings have been conducted without acrimony. At least recent meetings are (on the surface anyway!) polite.

However, the NALC is so concerned about the behaviour of councils generally that it now wants a compulsory Code Of Conduct for councillors – to get them to behave with due respect for the proper ways.

Major Achievements –  1*
Here in Draycott-in-the-Moors, the council collects almost £10,000 a year in council tax from residents. So, has the council any major achievements to show for that over the last few years?
~ Earlier this year, the council applied for funding for a speed-sign, and has been successful; it is to be hoped that a sign will be installed later this year.
~ The council’s Great War Commemoration effort was underwhelming.
~ Maintenance jobs in the district have been neglected over the last five years, because the council took that long to appoint a ‘lengthsman’ (aka odd jobs person).  The role has now been filled – so let’s hope things start to look better.
~  The council do though employ a litter-picker, whose job is to keep the village tidy, and Mr Price has been continuously in post for quite a few years.

(However, in the same period, a local community group established an information centre, installed a defibrillator, organised tidy-up days, built an information board, and commissioned reports to challenge unwanted housing development.  Quite a contrast!).

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Looking to the future

We hope we’ve been fair on this page in our review of the council’s record.  The trouble is, it’s not a very good record.

However, perhaps it is up to all of us to draw a line in the sand and put the past behind us and let the new councillors do their best.
We wish the ‘new’ council good luck.

Have the new Draycott councillors the energy, the vision and the drive to start to make significant things happen?
We would urge the newer councillors to try to inject some energy into the system… and perhaps, one day, someone will profile Draycott as a model council. Wouldn’t that be good?

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NEWS: community taxi / European football / Colours exhibition / euro elections

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2019
In this post we have news of…: volunteer taxi for Draycott / footballer for Europe / Colour-Works exhibition opens / this Thursday is euro-elections day… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including cricket sessions for kids…  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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Don’t struggle – get a ride

There must be a big thank-you this month from all of us to Draycott resident Brian Blackwood.
At the beginning of this year he was very perturbed by reports of a local woman who was having to spend around £60 each time just to get to her hospital appointments.
She couldn’t use a bus because, as we all know, bus services in Draycott, which had been shrinking anyway, were finally discontinued last year. Even the nearest bus links – in Blythe B and Tean – are infrequent.

So Brian took it on himself to investigate the possibilities of ‘community transport’.

He found that most schemes are too expensive for a small place like this, so there was just one recourse – he would become our village’s local driver under the county’s Voluntary Transport Scheme, which is run by ‘Support Staffordshire’. (Under this scheme, a local person ferries someone around in their own car).
Up to yet, the scheme had not operated in the Draycott area because there were no local volunteer drivers… and now Brian is the first.
There is a charge of course – but nothing like £60… thank goodness – and accompanying carers go free. For full details of charges, who qualifies for transport, booking arrangements etc, please click here.

Support Staffordshire Voluntary Transport

One lady is very happy with the service! (from Support Staffordshire)

But, as Brian admits, one volunteer can’t provide a comprehensive service. So… do you think you would be happy to put your name forward too? The more drivers, the better the service.
If you’d like to talk to Brian about volunteering as a driver, he can often be seen at village council meetings (see our What’s On page for details of the next one), where he can answer your questions.

Thank you, Brian.

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Bring some Colour(s) into your life

A lot of us remember the old Colour-Works in Cresswell.
It was by far the largest employer for miles around, and the village has ‘inherited’ a number of benefits from the company’s time, including the cricket ground and the tennis courts, which were works-facilities back in the day.
However, it was taken over in the 1970s, and then went into decline. Over a period of about twenty years, the works-site shrank and shrank (giving way to what is now known as the Blythe Industrial Park), before closing its last offices there in 2014.

Fortunately, the archives of the works were saved by a combined effort of local residents and the backing of the Cheadle History Group, which now looks afetr it. The unique collection includes some 700 pieces – photographs, artefacts, colour-recipe books and so one, some dating back one hundred years.

And now a few of those items have been dragged out of the vaults and are currently on show ate Blythe Bridge Library.
Why not get along? The exhibition will be of particular interest to ex-employees, who can relive many happy memories.

Blythe Colours exhibition prep

Volunteers preparing the Blythe Colours exhibition

The exhibition runs through the whole of May.
For more details, contact the history group.

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Jordan… next – Europe!

Congratulations to Cresswell 17 year-old Jordan Brown! European involvement (or not) may be confusing for most of us – but not him…

For nearly all his life, Jordan wanted to play professional football, and the dream came true last year, when he signed with Derby County, the team managed by England legend Frank Lampard.
But it gets even better…

At the beginning of this month, Derby’s under-18s side, of which Jordan is a member, clinched the English national championship – which means the team will play in Europe next year, in the youth Champions League.
If you don’t yet have a copy of this week’s ‘Stunner’ newspaper, do get a copy – the story of Jordan’s achievement fills virtually the whole back-page – quite an accolade. A collector’s item, we are sure.

Jordan's story - in the Cheadle Post & Echo

Jordan’s story – in the Cheadle Times & Echo (aka The Stunner)

Onwards to European glory….!

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Elections this week

Talking of Europe….   It’s quite a surprise to find we are being asked this week to vote in elections for the European Parliament – but there you go. It’s a confusing time….!
However, the right for ordinary working people to vote was hard-won, and we respect the efforts of our ancestors, so we never say no to voting.

This euro-election is a bit puzzling to understand though!
The best, most straightforward guide about it that we’ve found is on our sister website, the community-website for Stone, ‘A Little Bit Of Stone’.
The folks on there have made it simple – so we suggest you look at their guide and then decide what to do. Basically you just get the one vote; and you vote for a party not a person.

Voting takes place on Thursday May 23rd. Our polling station is Draycott Church Hall, and its hours of opening are 7am-10pm.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
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New councillors in 2019 election results

So now we know who our local political representatives are to be for the next four years.
Last Thursday we had both the Draycott village-council elections and the elections for the members who will now represent us on the Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

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Draycott-in-the-Moors council

Officially known as the ‘parish council’ but, to save confusion, often called the village or ‘community’ council, this is the council that looks after the grassroots interests of the area of Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow, Draycott Cross, Newton and Bromley Wood.

This time round, we welcome three new faces on to the seven-strong council – Kate Bradshaw, Emma Myatt and Sean McLaughlin (though Sean has already done six months as a temporary member).
Cllr Kate BradshawKate (see pic right) is well known as a strong character who also is a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church; Sean has worked abroad, though he has re-settled his business back in Draycott; and Emma is the ‘youngster’ of the council, with growing children and a track record of interest in the community.

Coming back for a further term are Roger Holdcroft (a teacher), Ms Pat McLaughlin (an accountant), Mark Deaville (who runs the Anchor Pub and is the only party-affiliated member, labelling himself a Conservative) and the life-long Draycottian, veteran Gordon Winfield.

Cllr Gordon WinfieldGordon (see pic, right) topped the poll with 169 votes, though it was very close with only thirty votes separating the top six.  Emma, who despite being very new to many of us, still polled a very creditable 118 votes.
Click here for details of voting.

It looks a good strong team at this point, and we should have some good debates, as the balance on the council is much more even now: it is about half-and-half in terms of ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives’.

The last two Draycott Councils (the 2011 and 2015 intakes) have been worse than useless; let’s hope this new version can change that and make a real difference.

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Staffs Moorlands Council – Checkley Ward

The residents of Draycott have had little to thank the Conservative-majority on Staffs Moorlands Council for over the last four years. During that time, proposals for two huge housing estates in our small district have been eased through (with the proviso of more to come) with virtually no regard for the views of local people.
The Local Plan process undertaken by the council majority was also fairly embarrassing, not to mention accusations of corruption.
So, it’s not surprising that, after the elections, Staffs Moorlands is now a ‘hung council’, with Conservatives losing out badly, and with Independents and Labour picking up a deal of seats.

As for us here, we come under the Checkley Ward of SMDC.
Over the last decades this has been a ‘shoo-in’ for the Tories, but there was a surprise result. Instead of it being the usual clean sweep of three Tories in Checkley, it was two Tories and one Independent.

Cllr Alan HulmeThe two Conservative councillors now representing us on the SMDC Council will be: Alan Hulme (see pic, right), a farmer by trade, and Mark Deaville.  Mark is born-and-bred, and lives in Totmonslow (and is also one of our parish councillors as well, of course) so he has a special interest in Draycott.
The former UKIP man Pete Wilkinson is the independent; and he was the only one who was up-front enough to talk about planning issues in his election flyers. Maybe that was one of the reasons why he got in… (?)
Click here for the details of the voting.

Cllr Pete WilkinsonCuriously, both Mark and Pete (see pic, right) are pub landlords (The Anchor and the Raddle Inn respectively).
So we look forward to their ‘councillor consultations’!

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Finally, we just want to say that these local elections in our small district were carried out with a deal of dignity and fairness, by all candidates, and that is such a relief these days.
Most candidates also put out election flyers too, so we could see what they were promising.
And now we will hold them to their promises!!

NEWS: elections day / footpath preserved / new 40mph zone

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early May 2019
In this post we have news of…: double elections, both parish and district, on Thursday / 40mph to come on dual carriageway / Draycott footpath is safe… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including an Exhibition about the Blythe Colour Works…  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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Voting

This week is Local Elections Week: with all of us going to the polls on Thursday (May 2nd) to elect members for Draycott-in-the-Moors village council and also members for our ward on the Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

Both elections look to be very interesting as each will have a lot of fresh names on the ballot paper (following resignations of some long-time faces). Because of the way the maths of it all works out, a number of these new faces will definitely be elected, come what may.

One thing to remember when casting your votes is that you don’t have to use your maximum allowance (each of us gets seven votes in the parish council elections, and three in the district council elections).
Thus, for the parish-village election, you are entitled to vote seven times – for seven different people. However, by doing that, in this election, you virtually nullify your effort!  (It’s all to do with the maths).
So some experts recommend you don’t use all your votes, but only vote for the candidates you really really support.
You can only vote once for each candidate.

It’s good too to see that most candidates in the village-parish election have taken the campaign seriously, and have delivered ‘manifestoes’ through our letterboxes. It makes it easier for us voters to select candidates.
But, if you live in Draycott Council’s boundary area – of Draycott, Cresswell, Draycott Cross, Totmonslow, Newton, Draycott Waste (i.e. along the Hilderstone Road) – and haven’t had an election manifesto through the door, you can always phone the candidates to get a rundown of what they are promising.

These elections take place this Thursday (May 2nd). The polling station for all of us in this area is Draycott Church Hall, from 7am to 10pm.
There is no election this year for the county council.

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Go slow(er) in Draycott

There is always a silver lining to every storm-cloud, and the project to build a huge new housing estate, the ‘Blythe Fields’ estate, on the fields above Draycott (i.e. behind Chandni Cottage) has produced a couple.

One is that the county Highways Authority are now demanding a 40mph limit on our Draycott bit of dual carriageway – the stretch between Chandni Cottage and the big roundabout. (Up to now it has been a 60mph limit).

A521 : 60 limit speed signs

There is currently a 60mph limit on entering the dual carriageway stretch here – but not for much longer, probably

All the traffic on and off the new estate will have to pull onto that stretch – and there is also going to be a pedestrian crossing there – so a new 40mph limit there would make sense.
Pretty much all residents we spoke to have  welcomed the move.

However, like everything, the proposal is subject to public consultation.
You have until May 29th to make your views known, for or against – click here for details on how to do that (look for ‘A521 Proposal’).

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Footpath ring-fenced

Talking of the Blythe Fields Estate, one thing we were worried about was whether the public footpath over the ridge (it goes from the Izaak Walton, over the A50 footbridge and along & down to Chandni Cottage) would be respected. It is right next to the building works.

But, credit where credit is due, and the developers, St Modwen, have ensured there has been no interference with the footpath, which is now fenced (see pic).Blythe Fields foot path
Incidentally, building work has already started up there, with the construction roads now almost complete (see below).

Some are estimating that houses there could be up by the end of the year, if not earlier.

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

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

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

NEWS: Cricket’s loss / Cross accident / Arms alterations / Responders’ decade

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2019
In this post we have news of…: death of cricket club stalwart / three vehicle pile-up / temporary hours at the Arms / gathering for local life-savers … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a one-man show about WW2…  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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RIP Colin

Many of us were sad to hear that ‘Mr Blythe Cricket’, Colin Dawson, had passed away at the end of last month. Starting off as a player and ending as club president, Colin served Blythe Cricket Club over some sixty years.
He will be remembered a lot for spearheading the campaign to raise half-a-million pounds to replace ageing facilities at the club’s ground in Cresswell.

Blythe CC presentation

In earlier days: Colin (in cap) accepting a donation for the club

Understandably, members at the club have been saddened by the news; and tributes have been pouring in. At Colin’s funeral, the traditional salute, of cricket bats held aloft, was observed as the coffin passed by.

In his honour, the friendly match which opens every season at the club has been renamed – as the Colin Dawson Trophy Match –, and will be held this year on April 20th. Following the game, a plaque will be placed on the new pavilion remembering him.

He will be missed.

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Accident at Draycott Cross

The Midlands Air Ambulance had to be called into action last Wednesday (17th) after an accident locally, which involved a van, a lorry and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was flown to hospital.
Amazingly, despite the immediate injuries and the state the vehicles were left in, no one was seriously hurt.

Accident scene (image from Staffordshire Police)

The accident took place on Cheadle Road at Draycott Cross, by the turn off to Huntley Wood.
It’s an open stretch of road on what is otherwise a narrow lane, so it is a place where motorists tend to speed up. However… the cause of the pile-up has not yet been identified.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident 326 of April 17.

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Light eats at Arms (for a month)

The long planned-for alterations at the Draycott Arms are now under way and should see the current pub morph into a gastro-pub plus bed & breakfast by the beginning of June.
Obviously, the builders will need a free hand, so – only for a while folks! – the full menu at the Arms is being suspended while the kitchen is affected… but snacks will still be available.
(The bar is unaffected… so, carry on drinking…. phew!)

Draycott ArmsAs a consequence … new hours will apply during the alterations, which are: evenings only (from 5pm) during the week; Saturdays noon to late; and Sundays, afternoons only, i.e. 3pm-6pm.

However, as is the way with building stuff, things can change – so keep an eye on the Arms’ website for updates.

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Ten (and more) years of responding

If ever (God forbid) you find yourself suddenly seriously ill at home, the likelihood is that it will not be an ambulance first on the scene to you, but a ‘community first responder’.  These are voluntary, local, trained-up people who are on stand-by to help in the first ten minutes of a 999 call, while the ambulance is making its way.
They are, quite simply, potential life-savers.

Our local group, the ‘Fulford & District CFR’ turned ten years old last year, and is having a belated gathering next month – to which we are all invited.
During the course of the event, there will also be a session on how members of the public can use a defibrillator, which, again, can be life-saving. (There is a public defibrillator in the Cresswell kiosk, though there is none in Draycott yet).

These guys do a terrific job, and need our support. The event takes place on at Fulford Village Hall (about two miles from Cresswell) on May 9th.  (STOP PRESS: the event has now been postponed to June)

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

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

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

News: local elections / new candidates / community’s kiosk / memorial move

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid April 2019
In this post we have news of…:  a farewell to some councillors / new faces among the election candidates / well done to Cresswell kiosk group / new site for memorial tree … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including sports camps in Cresswell…  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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Farewell

Believe it or not, we have great respect for people who step up for their community to become councillors. Yes, there are some bad apples, there are too many incompetents, and quite a few who are too self-important, but most are just ordinary honest folk with a sense of civic duty.
So, when they step down after years of ‘doing their bit’, it is fair to thank them.

Two familiar local faces whose names will not be on the ballot at the forthcoming Moorlands Council elections (in May) are Colin Pearce and David Trigger. Colin has a thoughtful and courteous manner about him, but he has been virtually the only one of our local politicians brave enough to stand up loudly to development hereabouts – he will be missed. And Dave Trigger, who has been so ill recently, was someone who could always be relied upon to be very intelligent & honest – rare qualities indeed. They were good councillors, both.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

Here, Pauline Clarke displays the ’25 Years of the Draycott Fayre’ banner

There are changes too at Draycott Parish council.
Pauline Clarke is stepping down after many years; she is a good example of the sort of villager who keeps a community going – her work with the summer fayre, the church refurbishment, the craft club and so on is testament to that.
Sadly, we seem to have fewer and fewer residents like her: ones who are prepared to support a range of activities in the village. We need more…

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Fresh faces at the polls

And now, on to what’s happening next.  As you know, the month of May will see village-council as well as district-council elections.

But, it has been depressing to note that, all around the Moorlands, very few people want to step up and stand for election to their parish-village councils. In fact, in nearly all other Moorlands villages, there won’t be elections at all – because, simply, they won’t have enough candidates.
In next-door Blythe Bridge for example, despite its ongoing problems of vandalism, interest is so low in their council that only six candidates have come forward to fill thirteen seats. That’s very disheartening.

So… congratulations are in order for us, the people of Draycott-in-the-Moors! This will be one of very, very few areas in the Moorlands where a parish council election will take place, as there are more than enough candidates here. When that happens, it usually shows a healthy interest in democracy among the residents.

And it’s nice to see some welcome faces among the first-time candidates here.
Kate Bradshaw is well-known for her work with the church and for her deep understanding of how parish councils function; she is also a ‘moderator’ on our village Facebook group. The Myatts of Stuart Avenue are also well-known and are that supportive of the council that two family members are standing! It’s good to see too that Sean McLaughlin, who ‘filled in’ when Steve Jones died a year ago, has decided that he will now put himself forward for a proper go. See the full list of candidates by clicking here.

These fresh faces deserve some consideration – please use your vote on May 2nd!
(There’s only one issue – surprisingly, nobody from Cresswell is standing, so if you live in Cresswell, you might want to press the candidates to ask them what they will do for Cresswell).

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Moorlands Council elections

Meanwhile, there are also the Moorlands District Council elections. At the moment, the Conservatives are the majority party on the Moorlands Council.
We are in the Checkley ward (Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow are all in Checkley ward) which is usually safe for the Tories.
However, the rapid rate of housing development in this region and concerns about the new Local Plan pushed through by the current councillors, might make voters think again.

Here in Checkley ward, there are seven candidates vying for three seats. As well as the usual Tory and Labour candidates, this time round there will also be a Green Party candidate (no Lib Dem though). Plus them, are two independents – Peter Wilkinson, who was formerly UKIP, and the former head-teacher Sandra Peck.
See the full list f candidates by clicking here.

Expect to get loads of leaflets through your letterboxes soon!

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Kiosk – good as new!

The lifeblood of the village is its voluntary groups – from the Women’s Institute to the local tennis teams (see our Links Page for a full list of local groups) – and one of them is making a real effort in Cresswell.

The Cresswell Community Group has taken on responsibility for the old telephone box there. This kiosk is now used as an information point, but also, more importantly, it houses the village defibrillator, which is for use when somebody goes into cardiac arrest.

So, when the bottom panel of the kisk’s door became so rotten that the door no longer closed properly, the group set to to finding funds to fix it and to find a competent joiner to carry out the work.

… all now nicely repared…

And, they stayed local – getting the money from the Draycott-in-the-Moors Solar Array Community Fund and hiring a tradesman who lived only 200 yards from the kiosk!
(To read the whole story, click here).
We’re happy to say: it now looks as good as new!

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New spot for memorial tree

The saga of Draycott Council’s WW1 Anniversary project continues, but it is not getting a lot better.

As we reported in our last post on the subject, the Council had had a memorial plant donated – which was then vandalised.
However, the plant has also now been refused permission to be in St Margaret’s churchyard… and instead has been placed in a rather odd spot, on some spare ground at the bottom of Church Lane.
Even though it is now some nine months since the WW1 commemorations were completed in the rest of the country, Draycott’s plant still has no memorial plaque.

 

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Compared to the efforts of all the nearby parish councils, and those across the rest of the country, Draycott’s contribution looks a bit sorry.

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

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

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