Beat CV with these walks

There are aren’t many silver linings to this crisis we’re in but one is that some of us are getting more exercise than usual by taking more walks.
On this page, we tell you of some good local walks, some ways to make them more enjoyable, how you can help the national walking charity as you do your walks, and we also invite you to design your own ‘quiz-trails’.

Keep exercising with a walk

As we all know, the government’s advice during this crisis is to take daily exercise (at least, it is at the time of writing). Their extra rule is to stay local: if you want to go outdoors, stay relatively close to home and especially don’t drive to get somewhere. In fact, the police can legally stop you if you’re driving in order to walk in major country parks.

(If you’re worried about what exactly constitutes a breach of the restrictions, click here.
If you want the best coronavirus advice on how to behave during country walks, click here.)

Walks a-plenty

Fortunately, in Draycott-in-the-Moors district, we have lots of public footpaths across open country, so all you need is to check the local Ordnance Survey Website , print off your selection, and head on out!

Stile by Draycott Church Hall

Recently repaired stile – by Draycott Church Hall

If you prefer a prepared, circular walk, why not print off three very good local ones that are well recommended. Click here to find out more.

(If any reader knows of other walks round Draycott – or even has designed one themselves – would they let us know, by emailing us?)

Just one thing to remember, sheep are lambing right now, so ewes will be aggressive if you go to close to their little ones; try to be sensitive. And, near sheep, keep dogs on a leash!

Village trail quizzes

But if you have children, it is harder to keep them happy if you are just doing the same walks every day, so why not try a ‘quiz trail’? Just pick your walk (it can be along pavements as well as footpaths), and ask a question at a spot every three minutes along. Even adults might find it fun!

We designed a Cresswell quiz-trail for a fund-raising event (which never came off, sadly), so we went up into the attic and found it.   – and, if you want, please click here on Cresswell Quiz Trail, print it off and have a go at it.

If you try it and like the idea, why not design one yourselves?
If you’re happy to also email them them to us, we’ll publish them on this site.

Help our footpaths

If you are into doing some serious regular walking across our local fields, please think about using your time to help the national walking society – The Ramblers UK.
Cuts to local services mean some footpaths have not been checked for some time – so, if you can help by making notes about the state of local footpaths, that would be an amazing help.
Just note the issues you see and report them on the Ramblers issues page.

Happy walking!

***
To comment on what you have read here, or to leave any thoughts you have about the local footpaths,  just use the comments box below.
You do not have to leave your email address (which is always kept private anyway and never passed on), but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback.

NEWS: coronavirus teams / College plans / Facebook group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-March 2020
In this post we have news of…: coronavirus crisis volunteers scheme / Draycott College plans / Facebook proves its worth … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

_ _
Coronavirus – neighbourhood teams?

A big thank you goes out to Kate Bradshaw and Denise Wheat.
In this difficult time, members of the village Facebook group were asking if an official ‘street coordinators’ team for Draycott-in-the-Moors – to ensure the vulnerable and elderly in each street get help – could be established.

Denise WheatUp stepped Kate, a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church and a Draycott village councillor, to respond to the challenge. She then recruited the village council clerk, Denise (see pic right); and now the two of them will work on the idea to see if a viable project can be established.

It’s not clear yet how volunteers will be vetted – but, then, let’s get the volunteers first! If you think you can help the project, in any way, email Denise.

_ _
Facebook

Facebook gets slagged off a lot, and, yes, there is a lot of nonsense, as well as too many trolls, on there, but a time like this, it really is proving an amazing resource for communities.

If you want to know what’s going on, and the latest updates for our neighbourhood, the Draycott village group page has been terrific. Residents have been swapping really useful facts, and supporting each other.
No less so the neighbouring facebook groups of Checkley & District Community Group, the Tean Community Group, the Fulford Village group, and the Blythe Bridge Group.
It’s worth just checking in with these pages just to keep up to date with how the Covid-19 coronavirus is affecting our locality.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

_ _
Draycott College plans

It looks like one of the places that will be affected by the virus is Draycott Moor College, the school for children who have the sorts of issues that mean they cannot go to regular school. It is likely to follow government advice and close soon, until after the virus is no longer a major theat.

However, the head-teacher Gail Norrie did present herself for residents’ questions at a college consultation event last week.
The school intends to expand from around 35 pupils to just over 50 (of all ages); and needs to build on extra accommodation.
The plans look well thought-out.

One issue that neighbours worried about, which is all the extra traffic there might be, is partly dealt with by the fact that cars will now be able to drive into the college and pick up from round the back, instead of queuing up on Draycott Old Road.
Some residents who are concerned about heritage issues asked if the old frontage, dating back to when it was the village’s primary school, would be affected. No, said Gail, the frontage will be left as it is.

The planning application for the new buildings will probably go to the Staffs Moorlands Planning Department by the end of this month.

_ _
Nature

Meanwhile, despite the problems in the human world, Nature just carries on, doesn’t it? Thank goodness.

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

The blossoms and the spring flowers in Draycott and environs are really looking stunning.

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

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

NEWS of: planning surrender / Izaak Walton / speeding figures

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late February 2020
In this post we have news of…: speeding danger in Draycott / affordable homes for us? not now / Cresswell loses its pub / flood-zones … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

_ _
Councillors do … nothing

The latest news about the Blythe Fields housing development (up by the A50 roundabout) makes us want to just weep.
As you may know, developers first applied to Staffordshire Moorlands Council for permission to build 118 homes on the site (in 2018); then they said they’d like to squeeze in a few more into the space – making it 146 homes on the site; then, this month, they applied to demand that the agreed quota on the site for ‘affordable homes’ (33%) be dropped, from 48 homes to… just eight!!!

St Modwen Blythe Fields estate brochure cover

Blythe Fields estate brochure – cover

It sounded like the developers (St Modwen Homes) were simply leading the council by the nose – and so surely the council’s planning committee would turn round and refuse this latest bit of elbow-twisting?
But, no, the councillors on the planning committee caved in like a pack of cards and surrendered. They shrugged their shoulders and virtually said –‘what can we do?’ (See the planning application; and also see webcast of the committee discussion by clicking here).

This is bizarre because the 33% affordable-homes target on estates is one set by SMDC themselves! – as a way of ensuring that housing estates include a proportion of homes for those struggling to get on the housing ladder, especially the sons and daughters of locals living in the district.
One little hopeful light was that at least one of our Checkley & Draycott Ward councillors, Pete Wilkinson, did speak up to express his concerns and vote against the move. Well done Pete.

But, of course, the fact is that mostly nobody really cares.
There was a lot of annoyed discussion about this matter on the village facebook page, but if you then look up the official planning comments page, only one resident actually went as far as to register an objection.

As for our Draycott village council, it will surprise no one to learn that (once again…) they couldn’t be bothered to put in a comment on this issue at all.
(Frankly, it seems a bit of a waste of time that we Draycott residents contribute £10,000 of our money every year to this lot if they can’t even be bothered to register comments on important matters like this).

No wonder big developers get their own way whenever they want – and in Draycott they probably will continue to do so.

On 7th March, the showhomes on the estate will be open to the public – but less well-off members of the community will now find hardly anything there for them… Like we said, it just makes one want to weep.

_ _
Will the flooding experience be ignored?

The latest lot of flooding, which saw record levels of water in some areas, will probably be forgotten quite soon by planners and politicians. Only the victims will still rue the day. Sadly.
Yet, as the Met Office reports, February 2020 set a new UK record for February rainfall going back 150 years. Parts of Staffordshire saw more than three times their usual rainfall!

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

Pooling across the Rookery Farm track

By coincidence, the Draycott & Cresswell community action group published an article about the local flood-zone a few weeks ago, saying that the risk of extra flooding these days surely now means that the extra industrial development on the Blythe Business Park in Cresswell should be reassessed.
A lot of the planned Blythe Park development is in an official ‘flood-zone’.

Even Boris Johnson might have his doubts. Three months ago, when he was on the campaign trail, he said: “We’ve got to stop building on areas which are vulnerable to flooding.”. (See full article).
We wonder what he would think of the Cresswell plans?

_ _
Draycott – speeding hotspot

New figures for the amount of motorists under prosecution for busting speed limits indicate that Draycott Level is a fairly dangerous place.
Over the last two years, thanks to mobile speed cameras, police have evidence against 179 motorists speeding along here. This makes it the fifth worst in the whole Staffordshire Moorlands.
The trouble is that Draycott Level/Uttoxeter Road is a, long straight, wide stretch and motorists just seem to think it’s a free-for-all.

The county Highways Department are at least now changing the limit on the dual carriageway (i.e. from the A50 roundabout to Chandni Cottage) from 60mph down to 40mph – which means the whole of Uttoxeter Road through the village will now officially be all a 40mph speed limit. This will be a help.
Staffs County has also given £5000 to Draycott for road-safety measures. The village council has decided that should be used on two electronic speed-warning signs, but after nearly a year on the project by them the signs have not yet appeared.
(And, despite residents’ continual complaining, the council’s effort to set up a ‘speed-watch’ team of them came to nothing).

Will Draycott drop down the speeding-hotspots league table when it’s published next time? It will be a close thing…
Cross fingers anyway.

_ _
Goodnight Izaak

The new owner of the Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell is wasting no time in fixing it up for its new existence (see pic below).Izaak Walton renovation, Feb 2020The Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee recently approved an application for ‘change of use’ for the Izaak from community asset (i.e. a pub) to a residential home.
(Incidentally, our Draycott & Cresswell village council supported this idea of losing the pub, and actually made an official comment to say just that).

We predicted that this change-of-use would happen, because a series of very good managers struggled and failed to keep it going: all of them said that the brewing company that owned the pub up until last year was simply charging unfeasibly high rents.
So it was almost inevitable it would go dark and, as ‘a failed business’ achieve its change of use approval.
Oh well.
Does anyone care?

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

Venting Draycott’s poisonous gases

If you’ve ever walked along Draycott Old Road, you’ll have noticed some odd little green metal posts. They used to be incredibly important – but they are redundant these days.
They are (were) sewer vents; and poisonous gases once issued from them.

Adams sewer-vent in Draycott Old Road

Adams sewer-vent in Draycott Old Road

Back in the day, the local council and/or water board was responsible for ‘venting’, ie clearing, sewers. In Draycott, in those days, the authority was The Staffordshire Potteries Water Board, but the Cheadle Rural Council would also have had a role to play. It was down to them to ensure that gases did not build up in sewers.
(Nowadays, it is the responsibility of householders. This is why we all now have tall waste-pipes on the outside of our houses – from which noxious gases can escape at the top).

By contrast, rainwater goes down a different system, usually to an underground stream.

As tall as lampposts

Problems with gases were especially worrisome in housing areas where the lie of the land rose into a hump. At such a high point, rising gases could accumulate in the sewers under the road, presenting possible danger. Methane gas (though non-toxic) is especially flammable.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The housing along Draycott Old Road is on a hump – and that is why vents were needed there.

Vent at Styal Industrial Museum

Vent at Styal Industrial Museum

When vents were first installed, they were much higher – as tall as lampposts – and the gases would emerge from the openings at the top, and blow away in the wind harmlessly.

If you go to the Styal Mill industrial museum near to Manchester, then you may see two examples of the full thing, one restored (see pic, right), the other not.

The vents in Dryacott are thought to have been in use until the 1950s.
Older people in the village remember that the top sections were eventually sawn off in the early 1980s, and then the vents capped with concrete (for safety reasons).
The one at the top of Stuart Avenue was cut down in the mid-1980s.

More research to do

The puzzles are of course: why weren’t they cut to the base when they were finally decommissioned?; and why does Draycott have a few left standing when they are very rare elsewhere?

But they are not without interest still. Down the sides of the vents is the name of the maker – Adams.
This can either be the famous Adams & Son family firm of potters which had a 200-year history in north Staffordshire before the family finally sold up (to Wegwood) in 1966.
Or, more likely, it could relate to the equally famous Brittain & Adams plumbing company which was founded in 1833 in Tunstall, but sadly went bust in 2018.
Historians researching old sewage systems occasionally come by…

Finally, let’s hope the vents are left alone to slumber in peace. If nothing else, they are a reminder of our recent past, when Draycott was a different place.

[Thanks to Matt Pointon and GP for input & help on this article.]

We have tried hard in this article to be accurate, but if think corrections or amendments are needed, please email us with your thoughts.

++

If you too have something you’d like to write and see published on this website, please email your idea along to us and we’ll see if we can help.

The Future is coming

The next ten years could bring big changes to Draycott, and could completely change the district from being a semi-rural district into a suburban ribbon.
Resident Mark Stewart has written this piece, warning that we just don’t seem to be waking up to these facts.
**
Five years ago, I wrote on this website about the way we were all sleepwalking into a possible development explosion in Draycott-Cresswell. Three years ago, the late parish councillor Steve Jones added: “The biggest threat to Draycott is the Constellation Project development plan…”
And, as far back as 2014, the VVSM group pleaded with the then village council to vigorously get behind an official ‘neighbourhood plan’, in order to pre-empt potential large development.

All these warnings were ignored at the time, by residents as well as the village council, and suddenly we are now faced with 350 new homes going up here in this village in the next two years, increasing Draycott’s population by a whopping 90%. And there is the distinct prospect of even more building to come following that.

And Draycottians are still sleepwalking.

More building to come

St Modwen Homes openly plan to carry on their current (Blythe Fields) development further, into ‘Phase 2 and Phase 3’, which will see them building almost as far as Cresswell, along the top of the ridge overlooking Draycott and the A50, with a mix of more housing and light industry.

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

The grey line running vertically through this photo is the A50. On the left side of it Phase 1, in red outline, Blythe Fields, has already started. The next two phases (in yellow outline) will see building stretch almost as far as Cresswell Pumping Station.

You’d think this would be alarming – but nobody, either councillors or residents, seems to be paying attention.

Thanks to this apathy, the planning authorities see Draycott as a pushover.
Staffordshire Moorlands Council (remember the shocking way they ignored official & expert advice in 2015 in order to pass the Cresswell Blythe Park estate development?) have already approved more development here, percentage-wise, than in any other of its wards or parishes. SMDC planners are already making provision for Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Who is standing up for us?

The ones who really should speak up for us, our political representatives, have been barely visible in these planning matters. Our MP, Bill Cash, who represents both Blythe Bridge & Draycott, has only sent letters (nothing more), while our own Draycott village council, which should care most of all, has been slow, feeble and muddle-headed, to say the least.

Blythe Fields outline diagram

The current Blythe Fields estate of 180 homes (up near the roundabout in this photo) only fills 10% of the land already approved for development (in red outline) in the district of Draycott

So, because of such apathy, the current SMDC Moorlands Local Plan has been able to allocate virtually the region’s whole quota of housing for semi-rural areas in … guess where? Draycott-Cresswell… An amazing stat.

The apathy goes deep. A few months ago, in view of the seriousness of the situation, a local resident put in a proposal to the village council, that one of its members should be appointed to take special responsibility for The Future (including planning matters) as a way of bringing some urgency into meetings. But the idea was rejected out of hand.
(Even though, at the same meeting, a councillor was indeed given a special responsibility – to monitor village odd-job tasks!  You couldn’t make these things up…).

Another example: we all know about the current traffic chaos caused by the works – yet back in the summer it took a some local residents to make a great fuss before councillors even bothered to react to the Highway Department’s plans.

Compare our Draycott representatives’ apathy to councils in places like Cheddleton, where similar proposals have brought councillors and residents out on street demonstrations and where they have twice defeated the proposals; and in Tean, where the village council is threatening judicial review against ‘excessive’ development.

And some residents are losing patience with their village councils’ inaction.  Recentl, in Creswell, a village near Staford, every member of the parish council was forced to resign when householders simply lost patience with their represnetaives, and demanded they step down.

Housing

Yes, of course, this country, and this county, desperately needs new housing, but it’s not quite fair to place so much in one area.
But it’s simply a lot easier for authorities to shove housing, even in large numbers, into areas where they know locals are not united.
Belatedly (and well after the Blythe Fields building started), a ‘Parishes Together’ group has been established, where village councillors from Draycott, Checkley and Blythe Bridge get together to talk about joint matters of interest. But this initiative looks to be far too late in the day to stop large development; and right now it is still just a talking-shop.

Boundaries

One excuse Draycott village council put up at the time for its lack of action over the Blythe Fields development is that most of the ongoing (i.e. Phase 1) building works fall into the boundaries of Blythe Bridge & Forsbrook council.

Blythe Fields on Forsbrook Draycott boundary

The St Modwen developments cross the Forsbrook-Draycott official boundaries

Through a strange lack of logic in the way parish council boundary lines were originally laid out years ago, land that should properly be in Draycott was allocated to Blythe Bridge. (Last year a resident called for Draycott Council to request a change of boundaries – this was again rejected).

But, when it comes to massive planning developments on their doorstep (ones like Blythe Park), all affected councils have a full right to get involved. If Draycott Council say “it’s not in our boundaries, we can do very little”, then they are wrong.

And Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge’s council‘s view? It actually supports the Blythe Fields development. (Keith Flunder, a district councillor for Blythe Bridge, said about his electorate at the time of the application: “People in general are in favour”.)
And why shouldn’t they have support it? It means loads more council tax for them (as much as £5,000 a year or more), and they will get few of the social and environmental problems – which will nearly all accrue to Draycott.

Maybe it all doesn’t matter to most of us?

Of course, the fact is that most of Draycott’s population simply don’t worry about these issues. Year in year out they vote for the self-same groups of people in elections (or don’t vote at all); while (to be fair to the councillors) participation from all but very few residents in any major new initiatives in the village is lacking.
So, we may lack leadership, but then we also lack community spirit. (The local community-action group, VVSM, after some amazing achievements, folded in 2017 – mostly because no new support was coming along.)

Maybe it’s simply that we believe that we can’t change things, even if we wanted to.
In fact, on the village Facebook page, this resident’s view seems to be the most accepted:  “…find some positives! The houses are not cheap so it should bring some extra cash. Extra cash means an extra boost to local economy, and a better local economy means we get better produce, products, services (here’s hoping) etc”.  Some residents even believe that those who don’t like the idea of huge expansion ‘should simply get out of Draycott‘.
Only a couple of small voices ever object to the lack of protest, such as this one: “…after destroying some beautiful countryside, on the new housing estate they have built so far what can only be described as the most bland red-brick buildings imaginable…

Hello to the Future

So…… As it stands, planning decisions indicate the following:
The last census (2011) put the population of Draycott at 1000 but, in ten years time, it could well be 3000 (including Blythe Fields).
One can predict that the village’s traffic flows, pressure on schools and doctors’ surgeries, and social disruption will all grow.
On the other hand, we may get a shop, and more business for our pubs.

However – whether we are happy with this vision or not -, should we really all sleepwalking into it?

++
Ref:  Original Blythe Fields planning application

Want to comment?
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.

Climate-change concerns

May we draw your attention to a new article which has just been published about the large building plans for Cresswell on the Blythe Park site?
The authors of the article say that the acceleration in climate change over the last five years should make local councillors rethink their 2015 decision to approve the proposals.  (Climate change leads to extreme and unusual weather conditions, including excessive rainfall & flooding).

The decision to allow building on the Cresswell flood-plain was a huge surprise to many experts at the time ; will planners now need to revisit that decision?

Click here to read Climate change, flooding and Cresswell

Field (Sandon Close in background)

Cresswell floods regularly. This field (Sandon Close in background) is the one earmarked for new housing

Climate change speeding up

The article has been written just as the world found out that climate change has now set in solidly. The last decade of 2010-2019 has been the hottest ever recorded.
See: Last decade confirmed as warmest on record

But we continue to blunder on blindly into the massive problems that climate change is presenting.

The future of this website

It’s with a heavy heart that we tell you that we are having to pull back the work of this website.

This website, the Draycott Community Website, has been bringing news, comment and listings for nearly ten years now. We have been very successful for a small website: in the year 2019, there were 13,000 visitors to the site.
However, recently it’s been proving very hard to keep up the level of work that we feel is properly needed.

Even as little as three years ago, there was a small team of researchers, writers, photographers who all contributed to the output. The team was all volunteers, doing it for the love of it, happy to do it for the sake of the village.
But, as happens with volunteers, some people leave, and fewer and fewer come in to fill the gaps. And illness comes in too sometimes.
The research bit is the hardest thing to do. Keeping up with the shenanigans of the big developers, not to mention the antics of the village council and other local politicians, requires hours of going over documents – and we don’t now have enough people to do the job as thoroughly as we think we need to.

Future

So, the remaining two of us have decided simply to pull back somewhat. (Developers and politicians will no doubt be happy to hear this!).
News updates will now be much less frequent, and the what’s-on page much thinner indeed.

We will however try to keep the website alive – by changing our objective, to publishing opinion pieces and history items (which actually we love the best, really!), with just the very occasional news update.
(So, if you have an opinion piece which you’d like to write and see published on this site, please send it in… on any topic.)

Maybe we will one day be back to full strength, but for now, expect a much thinner Draycott Community Website.

In the meantime… have a happy 2020…!

NEWS of: broadband / roadworks / festive lights

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early January 2020
In this post we have news of…: ‘superfast’ broadband for Draycott (a bit) / roadworks puzzles / festive lights on homes … (NB – for what’s on, check out the Events page).
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _
Roadworks information – very puzzling

The last bulletin from the Staffs Highways Department about the A521 roadworks at the end of Draycott was as near to official gobbledegook as you could get. Did anyone really understand it?
On the village Facebook page, the discussion about it showed we were all baffled by the complicated language of it. Which way in was it to be? Were we supposed to skip from one lane to another? Etc etc.
We contacted the department for clarification, but (of course, you’d guess it) the department has now completely discontinued its telephone helpline, so that idea was no use, while the actual A521 email helpline was closed for the holidays until early January. Sigh…
As for the official roadworks.org map, it had no specific details at all and even now claims that roadworks will go on till April 30th (which was new to us!).  We do hope someone somewhere will really make a point about how bad the information service (not to mention the signage) has been on this whole matter.

This is our best interpretation of the gobbledegook:
From Monday 6th: eastbound traffic still can get into Draycott directly from the A50, albeit a little snakily. Buses also will still get through. Lights will operate. HGVs cannot go this way and will have to make their own arrangements. Meanwhile, westbound traffic can still get directly out of Draycott from the A50, albeit using only one lane.
From Wednesday 22nd: (THIS IS A REVISED DATE; THE ORIGINAL DATE WAS JAN 27th) eastbound traffic still can get directly into Draycott from the A50 – but westbound traffic will be unable to get out of Draycottt straight on to the A50, because all westbound lanes are closed.
From 13th March: some normality returns (we hope)

… though, as the bulletin ‘helpfully’ says, St Modwen’s road engineers can simply close the access points at any time if they feel they need to. Sigh again…

_ _
Lighting up time

The Christmas cheer was a little less in 2019, if you assess cheer by the amount of homes lit up in the village. There were definitely fewer.
Maybe we are all gloomy after a long year of politics, and more politics…? Could be.
But well done to those who made the effort.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The lights gave the rest of us something to smile about – for a moment at least.

_ _
Spread the broadband spread

Staffs County Council’s ‘Superfast Staffordshire’ project has just issued a self-congratulatory press release saying that the county now has an extra 80,000 rural households receiving full-fibre broadband thanks to them…. “including Draycott-in-the-Moors”.
Some people in the village will be surprised that Draycott is in the statement.

Yes, it’s true that folks in central Cresswell have been getting superfast for some months now, and certain parts of Draycott have it too… but certainly not all of Draycott in the Moors. According to the latest broadband spread map (dated autumn 2019), the western end of the village is still waiting, while southern Cresswell-to-Hilderstone section as well as poor Totmonslow have more or less been abandoned.
(One would love for the village council to make more of a fuss with the authorities about poor old Totmonslow, but they haven’t discussed local broadband provision at a council meeting for years now.)

If you do want to check your own broadband speeds, we recommend the Ofcom checker.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – just a bit further down 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: election / lane re-surface / Colours 150th / squash

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid December 2019
In this post we have news of…: the election candidates / Church Lane – repaired! / Blythe Colours 150th anniversary / Draycott to be squash centre (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a community carols service …  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

_ _
Candidates’ lack of interest

Everybody keeps rushing around saying this is one of the most exciting elections ever… but not, it seems, in our constituency (‘Stone, Cheadle & Madeley’). It is so dull round here, that the BBC’s news-page for our constituency lists… no updates at all!

As for the candidates, well, sigh. Most of them can’t even be bothered to write up their official webpages.
The Conservative candidate hasn’t bothered to write up his official webpage at all (!) ;
The Green candidate has at least listed his name on his… but nothing else  ;
The Labour candidate  has put up a thumbnail biog, but no manifesto (and it’s one month out of date anyway) ;
So well done to the only candidate who bothered to put up a manifesto on his official webpage – the Liberal Democrat.

Thus … what do we really know? We know the oldest candidate is the Conservative, at 79, and the youngest is the Lib Dem; the Lib Dem and the Green actually live in the constituency; and that the Conservative is the sitting MP, while the rest are all local councillors.

person dropping paper on box

So, thank goodness for the local press! Without them, we’d know very little indeed. Check out the constituency hyper-local news website for profile-statements by all the candidates.
And the only time candidates seemed prepared to answer the tough questions ‘live’ was in a video-stream recorded on December 3rd, which is still available to view online. (The candidates did have to deal with one very tricky question, about the local badger-TB cull, which is worth checking out).
Actually, this video is also worth watching if you are still undecided who (or what) to vote for, as it’s probably the only time in this election you’ll get to see all four candidates in action.

All in all, you’d have hoped our candidates would have put on a better show if they wanted our votes. Bit depressing.

However, yes, we know, it’s a citizen’s duty to vote…
Voting actually takes place this week – on Thursday (12th) between 7am and 10pm at Draycott Church Hall.

_ _
St Modwen do a Saint Nick

It’s not often a major developer plays Santa Claus, but that is exactly what is happening in Draycott.
St Modwen Homes, which is building the Blythe Vale estate at the eastern end of the village, have decided to send their chaps along to have them repair the road leading up to St Margaret’s Church. And it needs repair a good deal; in fact Church Lane is so full of potholes that it resembles the surface of the moon, and some undertakers have, more than once, threatened not even to take hearses up it!

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors – before….

And how come this Christmassy warm gesture???
Well, we owe a lot of it to our county councillor, Mark Deavillmark deavillee, (see pic right) who, in his own words “made a “cheeky request… but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”
As we all know, contractors working for St Modwen are currently re-shaping the stretch of our carriageway leading on to the A50 – so Mark just asked if some of them could be freed up to come along and fix Church Lane. He was backed up in his efforts by some timely letters from Joyce Moore of the Church Hall Committee … and St Modwen agreed!
So.. the lane has now been resurfaced from the bottom of the bank almost to the church car park – a distance of around one hundred yards.

Incidentally, this is not a piece of the local community-compensation works (aka the ‘S106 Agreement’)  that developers are obliged to do. It appears to be a freebie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Merry Xmas St Modwen! And merry Xmas, Joyce and Mark….
Good job!

_ _
More squash

An interesting line came out of a recent meeting by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in which councillors were examining how best to ‘reorganise’ leisure services across the area.
You won’t be surprised to learn that it involve cuts – and the Leisure Centre in Cheadle looks like it could be closed, including its swimming pool.

There might well also be cuts in the range of squash courts.

draycott sports centre sign

Draycott Sports Centre

However, the (very slim) silver lining is that this means some investment may well come to Draycott Sports Centre. The centre already provides squash courts, but soon it may be the only venue for squash in the Moorlands … so the centre may get cash from SMDC for expansion.
Watch this space.

_ _
A colourful date

Finally, a date for your diary: Monday 6th January between 6pm and 7pm.
This is the date for an open meeting, to take place at Blythe Library, for anyone who wants to help create or take part in the Blythe Colours Cresswell Factory 150th Anniversary Celebrations.

The old colour-making works, which used to be on Blythe Park, closed down a few decades ago of course, but in its time provided employment for thousands of Draycott & Cresswell folk.

Ivan Wozniak and Jill Crowther, who co-ordinate the group, believe a big exhibition should be one of the events to be held next summer. Ivan told us: “Good news! I am pleased to report that the local chemicals firm Johnson Matthey have agreed to support our proposed 150 years celebration of Blythe Colours with a £500 donation!
He went on to say “…. but we will need all the help we can get, no matter how small. If you want to find out more about what we want to do, please come along to our ideas meeting next month.
All are welcome, and you don’t have to have worked at the factory to attend. All input, from anyone, welcome!

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

NEWS: roadworks / hustings / chimes / knitted angels

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks delays / election hustings for us / knit angels for Xmas / the chimes at the church (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Cresswell party night …  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

_ _
Roadworks dates

The incessant rains have not only caused flash flooding in the village but have also delayed the roadworks up by the A521-A50 roundabout.

So we contacted Colin Redmond, the Project Manager, for an update, and he told us that a revised schedule was now in place, meaning that…
~Eastbound incoming lanes will now remain closed until Monday 16 December.
~Then the Christmas break comes into force, i.e. there will be a lane open both ways – until Thursday 9 Jan.
~On Thursday 9 Jan, the big reversal takes place – with westbound, outgoing lanes closed altogether, but with an eastbound, incoming lane now open – until February 14th.
~After February 14th, things get a bit more messy as all the loose ends are tidied up, so the arrangements for these weeks following might be in more flux.
In theory, it should all be over by mid March.

So far, the roadworks have caused few problems for us, but the second phase (i.e. the one starting in January) was always the one that was going to be the most difficult. In this second phase, we will see a heavier concentration of traffic through Blythe Bridge and so, possible delays.
Patience will be needed…

_ _
Seen a candidate?

It always annoys us when people argue against proportional representation for Parliament by saying that “at least we will get a representative who is truly local and whom we can talk to”.
The true fact is that, in most constituencies, one rarely sees one’s MP!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.comFor example, we were really hoping for a local village-hall hustings this election time. (Hustings are when the candidates come together on a panel to appear before a local audience). In fact, in Stoke, hustings are already set to take place.
But, here in our constituency (the constituency of Stone), only one full one has been arranged so far – and that will be online only!

Still, anyway, well done to the local online news-website A Little Bit of Stone for organising it. If you click on to their Facebook site on the evening of Wed December 3rd (between 7pm and 9pm), you will observe the candidates ‘debating’ live as they make their pitches on a video stream.

The only local other hustings we know of is in Eccleshall (one of the main towns in our constituency along with Stone, Cheadle, Blythe Bridge and Madeley) on Thursday 28th. However, it is not a full hustings because the Conservative candidate has declined to appear; all the other candidates will be there though (click here for candidates list).
It’s at the Royal Oak pub in Eccleshall from 7.30pm; it’s been organised by the Eccleshall Today website.

Incidentally, if you want to submit questions for the candidates to answer in this ‘hustings’ event on Dec 3rd, click here to see the question form.

_ _
Christmas is coming

Nice to see that the local churches are already publishing their Christmas schedules. Here in Draycott, our community carols will take place on Sunday Dec 22nd.
For details of this and more Christmas events, see our What’s On page.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you’re something of a knitter, you could also take part in our local Knitted Angels project.
Chrissi Thompson, who used to run the Draycott Youth Club, is asking us to make little knitted figures which will then be situated in public sight around the district… to make us all feel a bit more Christmassy. It’s a great idea.

For more details and for patterns, contact Chrissi.

_ _
“Christmas bells, Christmas bells…”

Finally, we smiled on reading a post on the village Facebook page where there was a discussion about St Margaret’s bells ringing on the hour. Was the church’s bell-ringing team really traipsing up to the church to ring the bells every sixty minutes?

Well, it would be nice to think they were but, no, they aren’t! The chimes ringing from the church are on a timer.

If you’re thinking that you can’t remember hearing them, it’s not just because they are relatively quiet. The fact is that the chiming mechanism had not been working for a long time; and it took major efforts by Draycott’s Mr-Fixit, John Clarke, to get it all working again, and they’ve only been in action a while.
Well done to him!  They have a magical, traditional sound.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As for the St Margaret’s Church bell-ringing team, yes, they are still going strong, and it will be great to hear them pull a full peal of bells on Christmas Day…
(If you fancy joining the bell-ringing team – and it’s a great way to keep fit! – contact David Meller.)

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

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

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