NEWS: funeral / MP’s absence / cricket blues / sausages!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2019
In this post we have news of…: Bessie Hammond’s funeral date / Blythe Cricket team need you! / sausage festival success / where is our MP?
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including Draycott’s Macmillan Coffee Morning …  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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Betty’s farewell

One of this village’s biggest community gatherings for years takes place tomorrow (Thurs 12 Sept) when the funeral service for the legendary Bessie (Betty) Hammond takes place. The little church of St Margaret’s will be packed to the gills, not just with friends and relatives, but also those who respected her for her work as a village councillor and unofficial ‘aunt’ to the locality.
There may even be in the church some of those she helped bring into the world; in the days when the health services are not what they are now, she acted as an unofficial midwife, ready to help young neighbours giving birth at home.

Many people, especially those who have moved away, may not be able to get to the service, so the family have set up a tribute page on the internet. If you want to express your feelings, simply click on Keates Notices and leave your message as many already have done.
If you prefer the old-fashioned way, i.e. by post, address your cards to 10 Rookery Crescent Cresswell.

Talking of legends who have now left us, we also have the sad news that Graham Yates recently passed away. Graham ran the Izaak Walton Inn  in Cresswell for over a decade during the 1980s & 1990s, and you might well say that this was a high point for the pub.
Graham would no doubt have been distressed at the pub’s present moribund state and uncertain future.

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Brexit blues

We all admit that the Brexit is the most pressing matter for our country at the moment, but … it does mean that some MPs are working on little else, and so are spending little time on constituency work, let alone other important matters like climate change.

Sir Bill CashIf you follow the activities of our local MP Sir Bill Cash (pic right) through sites like They Work For You, you’ll see that a massive proportion of his speeches are about Brexit, with a few about HS2. And in fact, the number of visits he has made to this constituency for his MP surgeries has fallen to a new low – just five for the year so far… We have not seen him in Draycott itself since 2014.

Sir Bill has even suspended his www.billcashmp.co.uk website (despite it still being advertised on his Parliament page) which was supposed to reflect local issues.
However, Bill is going hammer & tongs on his Twitter account – about virtually nothing but Brexit though.

Compare this failing to the impressive local campaigns web effort made by Jack Brereton MP in next-door Meir.  Compare it too to the tireless local work from the Leek MP Karen Bradley ( whose recent speeches in Parliament have been about Leek Hospital).
Both Karen and Jack are, like Bill, Conservatives.

Draycott & Blythe Bridge (Sir Bill’s constituency covers both) have been facing huge challenges in the last few years and – we would say – it’s time for Sir Bill to get a bit more local. Other MPs (like Karen & Jack) have tried better to balance their issues workload between local and national affairs, even at this crucial time, and maybe Sir Bill needs to do the same.
For example, he would be very welcome at the Checkley-Draycott-Forsbrook Master Plan Forum later this month!

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Despair – joy – despair again

As we reported last month, Blythe Cricket Club’s season took a sudden turn for the worse in July when the First XI crashed to bottom place in the NSSCL Premier Division. All looked over for the Cresswell-based team.

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

However, miracles do happen. Just two weeks ago, Blythe amazingly beat high-flying Meakins, and followed that up by also thumping Whitmore. It looked like the impressive Khan ‘twins’ had regained their form and Alex Heslop was hitting the runs again.
… only to slump again with a resounding defeat to derby-rivals Checkley.

With only two matches to go, it looks like the last game of the season, on Sat September 21st, at the club’s Cresswell ground, could be do-or-die. If you can turn out to cheer the team on, then, you never know, the club may just be able to avoid the drop and stay in the Premier League another season.
See you at the pavilion!

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So scrumptious, that…

Finally, we like this photograph, which was sent in by one of our readers. It shows (part of) the ‘Seven-Incher’ speciality-dish served up at the Draycott Arms Sausage Festival last month.Draycott Arms Sausage Festival 2019The Seven-Incher is a taster dish, providing an example of each of the seven exclusive sausages made especially for the festival.
So why are there only three examples in this photograph? “Sorry” says our correspondent, “but I couldn’t wait: it all looked too delicious! By the time my companion had got the camera out, I’ll admit I’d just had to get started… which is why only three are left!

Music at Draycott Arms Sausage & Cider Festival 2019

As well as sausages, there was music. Spot the two ladies joining in the fun – by ‘playing’ toy guitars!

And no wonder the sausages are so delicious. Zara, the chef, takes freshly-killed meat, and makes her own exclusive concoctions for the festival, which, this year, included an astonishingly good version of the South African ‘Boerewors’ (one for Brayn, no doubt!).
The Arms really is becoming the leading gastro-pub for miles around. We suggest you eat there now – before it becomes impossible to get a table…

***
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Road closure cock-up


STOP PRESS
(16th September 2019): It seems that, at the very last minute, the decision to go ahead with the road-works has been suspended. Common sense has prevailed, thank goodness!
See: latest update
THE LIKELY START DATE IS NOW MON 30 SEPT
= == == = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Well, what a cock-up it has been!

Even up to the last week of August, we were all led to believe that the westbound (A521) route out of Draycott to the A50 & Stoke was going to be closed from next week for two and a half months.
However, at least, according to the official roadworks map, the eastbound side, coming into Draycott, would remain open… so it was believed.

But…. the signs indicating this closure were quite vague, and no one was quite sure what the details were.  Plus – no one on the Highways Department ‘hotline’ seemed to know the details either.
So… which lanes were actually closing? No one quite knew.

So we feared the worst – quite rightly as it turns out.

Contradiction

Some of us also noticed that the official order, issued by Staffs Highways, contradicted the official map.  The official order was, confusingly, saying something different to the map.

So, on behalf of the residents, we wrote to Highways, pointed out the contradictions, and asked for an explanation.

We still have not had a reply (no shock there!) – but… guess what? … the closure signs on the road there have immediately disappeared.
And today (late August), the official Draycott roadworks-alert map was suddenly – without warning – simply changed!

 

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The new information now is that, it seems, BOTH the eastbound and westbound routes between Draycott and the A50 will be closed for eleven weeks from September 16th not September 2nd (with just a couple of days in between, when the eastbound will be open).
No apology or explanation for the former misleading information either.

Gridlock fears

In other words, for nearly three months, there will be no way out and no way in at the roundabout from or into Draycott; motorists will be forced to navigate through the crowded and narrow streets of Blythe Bridge instead to get in and out. What a nightmare. We predict this extra load will cause gridlock…
(By the way, as of the time of writing this, the official Highways order has not yet been altered – it still has the old wording – so someone in the department is still clearly not getting the message).

What we ourselves intend to do is pre-empt the whole problem by cutting up Cheadle Road (by the Draycott Arms) instead, and go all that way round to go west.  But…  Cheadle Road itself is just a rat-run country lane, and very narrow and difficult in parts… so who knows what hold-ups that could bring.
This is not a good situation to be in for motorists.  There has already been a lot of discussion on the village Facebook page about this – and no one is happy…

Arrogance

It doesn’t help that Staffs Highways have arrogantly placed these traffic orders without even discussing the issues with our local councillors – or since apologising to confused members of the public for their mixed messages.

Road closure sign 2nd Sept

The original sign of road closure was for September 2nd – which turned out to be completely wrong.

What is more than annoying about this move is that it seems to have been just sprung on us. Although the original notice was issued at the beginning of this month, little publicity was done to tell residents about it – even the local newspaper hasn’t done a report on it! So most of us have been largely unaware of it until very recently.

It is a sad situation too when a large housing developer such as St Modwen Homes (on whose behalf all these works are being done) also doesn’t keep our local representatives & residents properly up to date.
You’d think that they would want to keep good relations with local people, but their ham-fisted way of going about this is not a good sign.
This affair really doesn’t give residents confidence for how St Modwen will carry out the rest of their huge development in our village, and, indeed, carry out their other proposals for the village that are already in the pipeline for the future.

***
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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

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NEWS: RIP Bessie / listed building clean-up / Blythe Park latest

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2019
In this post we have news of…: Bessie Hammond dies at 106 / Blythe Park latest / listed building gets facelift… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including the Annual Flower, Veg & Home-Produce Show…  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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End of an era

The news of Bessie (Betty) Hammond’s death is truly saddening.
She was not only instrumental in making this village (Draycott & Cresswell) what it is (see Betty’s Life-Story), but she was a genuinely good person, and both as cheerful and as energetic as possibele.

Bessie HammondThere have already been a lot of condolences expressed on the village Facebook page; and we have no doubt that her funeral will be attended by many many people.
Her last days were spent in the comfort of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

Bessie was also Staffordshire’s oldest living person, having celebrated her 106th birthday only a few months ago. Even on that day, despite knowing she had cancer, she made the effort to get out to a family celebration.
Its astonishing to think that when Bessie was born, in 1913, motor cars had only just started appearing on our roads and Queen Victoria had only died a decade before.

She will be missed.

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Blythe Park latest

Well done to Draycott Council for holding an emergency meeting last week to discuss the latest notice about the Blythe Park development in Cresswell.

In fact, as it turned out, the latest move doesn’t add up to anything much, being just a repetition/summary of an application made back in January: the developers, Scentarea, want permission to hold off for a while from doing the road-infrastructure changes they had promised originally.
Back at the beginning of the year, Draycott Council put in a strong objection to this idea, and on the website of the local action group VVSM, there was a strong piece explaining their opposition too.

But, if you too have comments to make on what the developers are up to, you still can – you have until September 6th – click here.
Draycott Council are also looking for anybody with strong opinions on the matter to speak at the Planning Committee meeting, on September 19th in Leek. If you’re interested, contact the council clerk.

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Listed ‘building’ clean-up

It’s not well known but Draycott-in-the-Moors has a few listed buildings – and two of them are tombs!
Caring for such heritage objects is of course a tricky job, so it’s no surprise that even the task of removing ivy from one of them has to go through a whole process of permissions.

Anyway, it seems like the Hyatt Memorial Tomb (Grade 2 listed) in St Margaret’s Church graveyard (see pic below) is about to get such permission; and then the ivy will be cut away and the worst of the crumbling mortar will be re-pointed.Hyatt Memorial Tomb with ivyThe Hyatts were a well known local family in the early nineteenth century and farmed at High Fields (up on the road to Cheadle). This was their family tomb and five family members are buried there.

After this work, the Hyatts inside the tomb should be safe for a few years to come.

***
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NEWS of: church funds / Totmonslow housing / police Facebook / footpaths

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2019
In this post we have news of…: parish council doze through Totmonslow development / report those footpaths / police join Facebook / fayre funds for church… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Sausage & Cider Festival…  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 council lack of action

The recent news that a development for five houses at Totmonslow has finally got planning permission launched a surprising discussion at the last Draycott parish council meeting.
Pete Wilkinson, one of our newly elected district councillors, had dropped in to observe the meeting. He expressed his deep unhappiness with the Totmonslow news, saying that the new cul-de-sac which will be built for the development is too dangerous: the cul-de-sac will exit straight onto the main Draycott-Tean road, too close to the brow of the hill for Mr Wilkinson’s liking. In fact he said accidents would be the inevitable result.

He is not the only one who feels this way. Among the official objections to the original proposal were comments from half-a-dozen residents and from Checkley Parish Council too (even through the development is inside Draycott-in-the-Moors area, and only borders on Checkley’s area).

Then Mr Wilkinson asked how Draycott Council had responded.
Silence.
It turned out that, though our village council were aware of the application, and its various updates, even discussing the issue a year ago, they had just … forgotten to make a response.
So what we see here is that the neighbouring parish council and a number of local residents had managed to put in official responses, but our own council, whom we depend on, had failed to.

It seems to us that this really is not good enough. Village councils should be there in the front-line, battling away on issues that affect the community, not dozing on the sidelines. Whether they agreed with the Totmonslow proposal or opposed it, their first duty was to make some sort of response. And they failed.
Ad this is not the first time (see Council’s dismal record).
So, again, we would ask Draycott Council to … just please wake up.

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Watching the detectives

According to surveys, the main public issue that bothers small communities like ours is crime. This is quite surprising, as small districts don’t usually suffer a lot of crime.

Moorlands Police logo
Our local Moorlands police are aware of this concern; and put on monthly meet-the-PCSO sessions at both Blythe Bridge and Tean to try to reassure residents.
But they have now gone a step further and last month launched their own Facebook page. It will list traffic reports, news of convictions & arrests, diary dates for consultation events and so on.

In one way, this doesn’t seem like a big contribution to crime-fighting – but it is part of the drive by local police to publicise what they do, in order to make us feel safer.

But, what do you think of this latest move by Moorlands Police? Is it just a gesture, or a useful initiative? Use the comments box on this webpage to express your thoughts.

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Hurrah for the fayre

The final receipts are in for the annual Draycott Fayre, which was held just a few weeks ago. Once all costs are taken out, the fayre raised a handsome £4000-plus for the parish church fund. St Margaret’s is nearly 800 years old, and, without such donations, would simply start to crumble.

In fact, the last annual report for the church tells us that it spent a staggering £50,000 in the twelve-month on maintenance (which admittedly did include major roof repairs). Fortunately, some grants had become available, and there were donations of £12,000 from local well-wishers, but you can see how money can get swallowed up very quickly.
(Surprisingly, this current annual report for the church has not been made available online, even though previous reports have been. A copy is available in the church itself though).

So, if you went to the fayre (see highlights below), you can have the satisfaction of knowing that a great heritage & community asset is safe for another year, thanks to your support…

 

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By the way, an even better series of photos of the day than the ones above has been created by Neil Archibald, and is available online for all to enjoy – check out the Draycott 2019 Fayre Album

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Report blocked paths a new way

Most footpaths in Draycott-in-the-Moors are maintained very well (though there are some problems in Cresswell where overgrown and blocked paths continue to be a long-standing and thorny issue).

It has been very frustrating trying to report problem issues over the last few years. Staffordshire County Council (who are responsible for path maintenance) have set up easy online ways of reporting potholes, flytipping, problems with bins etc – but not an online way to report footpath problems.
Until now.

Near NewHouse track

A blocked footpath

At last, you can report local footpath and bridleway problems on a custiomised webpage, thanks to a newly set-up and simple online process.
Click on Staffs Public Rights Of Way Issues.
Having created your online account, you can also track the issues you have reported (to make sure they do get fixed); and also can see matters reported by others.

Lots more people are walking for health – and our district has plenty of good countryside footpath routes (see some examples by clicking here and here) – so let’s make it as easy as we can for us all to keep walking.

***
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Draycott going green

One small but important aspect of this year’s (fantastic) Draycott Fayre was … its bins.
The choice of waste disposal may not seem significant at first, but the way that the fayre organisers chose to do it this year was quite different to previous. This year they decided to go green, and so installed recycling bins; and they are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts.

The main coordinator of the fayre, John Clarke had this to say:
“In previous years we have had a skip (generously provided by the local company, Hartley’s) but this year we provided blue bins marked with the type of waste that can be recycled such as glass, metal tins, cardboard and plastics.

Recycling bins at Draycott Fayre 2019As it was a new effort this year I wasn’t sure what reaction we would get from our Fayre visitors, but, having taken the blue bins up to the Cheadle Recycling Centre, can I say that the results were astounding – there were very few instances of mistakes, i.e. of the wrong recycled waste in the wrong bin!
To a certain extent I think our Fayre visitors are ahead of the general population in honouring the recycling ethos!”

And the bins weren’t the only ‘green’ thing at the fayre. The kids’ art competition (another first for the fayre) had for its theme, Saving The Planet – and the young people responded brilliantly.

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In their drawings and painting, you could see that they understood the issues of the environment very well – much better than some of us older ones in fact.

Village level

The organisers of Draycott Fayre hope that their good example will be noticed by all households in the neighbourhood. Many of us sadly do not yet recycle, and those of us who do don’t always bother to do it right.

So, if you want to get recycling done right…
For how to use our municipal recycling bins properly, click here.
There is also a newly opened Eco-Centre in Uttoxeter where volunteers are happy to give advice if you are still confused.

Climate emergency

This month also saw the formal declaration of a pledge by our representatives at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030. This was in response to councillors’ increasing worries about climate-change – because experts think we have just 12 years left until it gets irreversible.
SMDC followed a good example: one of Theresa May’s last acts as prime minster was to commit the UK to halving carbon emissions by 2030 – the first leading nation to do so.

Not surprisingly, the move was welcomed by the local ‘Staffordshire Moorlands Climate-Action Community’ organisation, a new action group.

And what about our own village council? Will Draycott Council follow the lead of other community councils and take up the climate pledge? It would be good to think they would.

In a way, Draycott is already a centre for sustainable energy. The district already hosts one ‘solar farm’ (where solar panels harness the energy from the sun to make electricity), i.e. the Newton Solar Farm; and it looks like we may be welcoming another one soon (for details, see Cresswell solar farm proposal.)

Wind turbines

But the big test of our local representatives’ green credentials will be when the next crop of applications to build wind turbines comes up.
So far Staffordshire Moorlands and Draycott Council, and even our local MP Bill Cash, have opposed new turbines whenever they could.
Will they change their minds?

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

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

NEWS: 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

_ _ _
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!

_ _ _
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….

_ _ _
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.

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We look forward to seeing Version Number Four!!!

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

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

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

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

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

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
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?

_ _ _
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.

***
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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)

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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

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!).

+
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?

***
Want to comment 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