NEWS: cricket joy / online news / comunity fund / GOSH charity ride / giant car-boot

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid June 2018
In this post we have news of…: cricket club’s great start to season / reading the Stunner online / county hands out money to community / the Arms goes for a charity ride / book a car-boot spot …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a free live-music afternoon…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Boyz doing good

Congratulations to our very own Blythe Cricket Club  for a cracking start to their season. The Cresswell-based team were promoted to the NSCCL Premiership for the first time last season, and some thought they may be destined to head straight back down again. But, not so!
The lads had a 100% record until meeting this season’s leaders Porthill Park but even now still figure in the top five of the table.

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

One wise new signing was Jalat Khan.  Although we are not long into the season, the Pakistani international leads the batting and bowling stats! What with the consistently expert bowling of ‘veteran’ Matt Goodwin and the leadership of captain Peter Finch, all looks set for the club to have a good summer.
However a real test comes up on 23rd June, when Blythe is at home to reigning champions Meakins.
Entrance to matches is free.

(By the way, if you are wondering where the young wicket-keeping star Jack Hammond has gone, well, it’s not far – he transferred to Checkley).

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County Council gives money back to public – shock

The end-of-the-financial-year summaries have just been published for the county council’s ‘Community Fund’. Under this scheme, every county councillor is given a sum of money to distribute to projects in his or her own ward.

mark deaville

Mark Deaville

Our own county councillor, Mark Deaville (his Cheadle & Checkley ward covers Draycott) nominated just over £7000 to thirteen local projects in 2017/18.
In Draycott and Cresswell, his nominations saw £800 for Checkley Outdoor Bowls Club (which plays in Cresswell), another £800 for furniture for the new Blythe CC Community Pavilion (also in Cresswell), and £300 for curtains for the church hall. Click here to see details of all those grants.

Mark is now making his nominations for 2018/19, so if you have a community project that you think could do with a few quid, just ask! Click here for details on how to do that.

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Stunner enters 21st century

It’s interesting to see that our local newspaper The Stunner (aka The Cheadle & Blythe Bridge Times & Echo) is now available online as well as in paper form.  So, if you prefer to keep up with the world on your computer (or phone), well, now you can.
You can now get the whole of paper’s content, cover-to-cover, not just the headlines, by taking out an online subscription.

However, we are pretty old-fashioned, and still prefer the crinkle of actual paper…
What’s more, thanks to Lloyds Newsagents in Blythe Bridge, who still employ a paper girl, we don’t even have to leave home to read it, getting it delivered through the letterbox.

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GOSH!

Recent visitors to the Draycott Arms will have noticed that mine-hosts, Zara and Brayn (pic below), are looking even fitter and leaner than usual.

Draycott Arms - Brayn and Zara

This is because the pair are currently training for the 100-Mile Charity Cycle Ride – which takes place in July, raising money for the famous children’s hospital Great Ormond Street (aka GOSH).
Unlike a lot of so-called ‘challenges’ this one is really quite tough. It’s an up-and-down course, and will certainly be exhausting. (This is why we have preferred to simply support their just-giving page rather than take part ourselves!)

It’s a great cause too. Check out how to contribute by clicking the pair’s Just-Giving page.
Alternatively, why not head on down to the Draycott Arms ‘Music in The Sun’ event this Sunday (10th), and make your contribution in person?

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Make some money

Next month’s Draycott Summer Fayre Weekend  is offering us all a chance to make a little pin money.   Every little helps…

For the first time, the fayre’s car-boot sale will be a stand-alone affair, taking place on the Saturday (the morning of July 7th). There is a large field to fill, so there is plenty of room.
As it’s the first time of trying, the cost of a pitch has been kept deliberately low – just £5 per spot (including car).  It’s free entry for the public.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - ice cream

Draycott Fayre (2016)

However, it is best to book your pitch in advance. Maureen Winfield is in charge of the organisation of it all – so email her if you want to make sure of taking part.
Time to check the garage…

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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

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

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NEWS: Vol of The Year/ new homes/ farm sold/ giant pothole/ village assembly (not)

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2018
In this post we have news of…: your votes needed for Volunteer Of Year, 100-plus houses on the way, Draycott Cross’s huge pothole, ancient farm-site sold, village-assembly shambles …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cricket tournament on BH Monday…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Voting time

…no, don’t worry, it’s not our council election time (that’s next year), BUT your votes are requested please.

Nearly everybody will know John Clarke (see pic right). In the last few years he has been the go-to man for so much that happens in our village.
John ClarkeHe is best-known for the being the Chief Organiser of the Draycott Summer Fayre, which is now so successful that being organiser is almost a year-round job.
But John also does the little things too – he repairs our bus-shelters and notice-boards, delivers community newsletters, helped set up the churchyard lighting, and the like. He was the courageous fellow who climbed up into the church belfry for six months, working to restore the church’s 500-year old bells!
And he does it all for nothing.

In recognition of his work, this year John has been selected as one of the finalists in the Staffs Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Award. However, the winner is decided by public vote – so, please take the thirty seconds to vote for him.
To vote: just click on this link  (and then click the button by John’s name at the bottom of that page).
You can also vote by phone: just call 01538 381356, and leave your name and say you are voting for John Clarke (outside office hours, you’ll be diverted to Carol’s answer phone, and you can just leave your name and nominate John on that).
Anyone is allowed to vote.

Please vote – and please encourage friends, family, neighbours to vote (deadline is in just a few days – on May 31st).
The other finalists are from the Moorlands’ big towns; so for a lad from a small village like ours to win, he will need all the votes possible…

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King of potholes

The county council used to have an excuse for the plethora of potholes. They said most of them were caused by unstable tarmac contracting in freezing winter conditions. Well, in a very hot Spring, that excuse looks less believable.
A really nasty pothole has appeared on Cresswell Lane leading up to the cricket club. Because of the incline, it’s hard to see it until the last minute, and we’ve seen cars swerving very late to avoid it. But this manoeuvre is crazy because you’re approaching the blind brow of a hill there…Pothole D Cross 2018
However, the king of potholes, well over six inches deep, is at Draycott Cross on the road leading up to Boundary (see pic above). It’s a nightmare because it’s on a very narrow bend; you can feel your axle crunching as you go into it. Motorists, beware.
To report a pothole, click here.

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“New village” for Draycott

As we predicted some months ago, a planning application for a local estate of over 100 homes has been given the final green light by Staffs Moorlands Council.

The developers, St Modwen, have had dibs on the land all along the ridge overlooking Draycott Level for some time; and when they decided they wanted to build houses at one end of it, it would have been a hard fight to stop them.
The new estate, which will sit in the pocket of land which has the A50 on one side and the Blythe Bridge roundabout on the other, will also have a new access road – which will come out by the Chandni Cottage restaurant.

Predictably, our Draycott Council had almost nothing to say about this,  (despite the new estate being on the parish border), but the Stunner newspaper reported  great disappointment from local residents Lee Warburton and Paul Dyke.
Paul said: “How on earth can an access road across an extremely busy carriageway, no more than a stone’s thrown from one of the city’s most dangerous accident black-spot roundabouts make any sense? Adding in the extra cars from 118 houses will only make things worse.”
Another resident, Brian Sammons said that the site was so isolated up on the ridge that it amounted to a “new village”.

St Modwen has yet to announce what building plans they have for the rest of the ridge stretching along to Cresswell. Watch this space.

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Historic site sold

One of Draycott’s most interesting properties looks like it has finally been sold. High Coneygreave Farm, up on Draycott Cross near Huntley Wood, is ‘under offer’ for around £400,000. High Coneygreave FarmThe farm-site is very old, though the farmhouse itself is probably only 19th century (does any local historian know the answer?) and is in a lovely spot, with views all around. The only thing that seems to have put buyers off is all the work needed on the house.

Incidentally, the farm is on the access road to Huntley Wood Recreation Park, a private facility which is mostly used these days by ‘game-playing’ or ‘role-playing’ societies. The members of these societies use the Wood’s open spaces to enact live scenarios similar to Dungeons & Dragons etc.
So the new owners of High Coneygreave will have to get used to wizards and wonder-women passing their door!

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What’s up at Draycott Council?

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

It might be best to try and forget the last council meeting.
The council was supposed to have organised a village-assembly (when the whole village comes together, to look back on the last year and plan for the next).
Well, it was a shambles. It was so badly organised and badly advertised that only one village organisation turned up specially (John Clarke, thank goodness, gave a report on the forthcoming village Summer Fayre) and less than ten people attended.

What’s more, the acting council clerk said she wasn’t attending, and no-one had thought to go and collect the paperwork off her for the meeting, so it was all a bit confused. Sigh.

Let’s hope the councillors get their act together in time for the Council’s Annual Meeting next month, when they have to report on the council’s achievements over the last year. Hmm…

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

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

Draycott Summer Fayre 2018

Welcome to the big event of the year… the 27th Annual Draycott-in-the-Moors Summer Fayre Weekend, which once again promises a full thirty-six hours of fun (with a little sleep thrown in in the middle…), taking place on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th July 2018.

Highlights
# Saturday Afternoon: NEW!! For the first time, there will be a huge car-boot sale on the front-field during this day.
# Saturday evening: ‘Saturday Night Live’ brings three bands, a disco, & beer festival. Headlining is a seventeen-piece dance outfit…!
# Sunday daytime: St Margaret’s Summer Fayre from 11am-4pm – with the Historia Normannis re-enactment group (looking back to the days of Bad King John!), an extensive vintage car rally, entertainment in the marquee…. and more (for details, see below)

Snake at Fayre

Remember these? The snakes and other reptiles are back this year…

Everything takes place around Ford’s Field, slap bang in the centre of the village (for sat-navs, it’s ST11 9AE); and it’s all free to children of school age.

Saturday Sales
In the past, a small car-boot sale event has been held during the main fayre on the Sunday – but it has proved so successful, it has been decided to give the car-boot event a day of its own.  Starting at 9.30am, it’s hoped that we shall see dozens of stalls selling a wide variety of items. Pitch Fee only £5!
If you have stuff stored in your garage, why not apply for a spot? Maureen Winfield is in charge – email her for details.

Party on, on Saturday
For those that love to dance or just appreciate live music (and appetising food), you get your moment on Saturday evening (7th July), when the field’s large marquee will be put to good use. The night will have its food & drink organised by The Draycott Arms again (thanks Zara and Brayn!).

The line-up for the music is:
…the Woodstrings duo, performing songs by The Rolling Stones, Ocean Colour Scene, INXS, Stereophonics, The Strokes and moreBear Withers
….one of the bands returning from last year, Bear Withers (above) who describe themselves as a “seamless blend of popular covers and bad jokes”!
… and a seventeen piece swing band, Hassell Street Jive Candy, who will really end the night on a dance-crazy high! Check out their videos for proof
… the compere & DJ will be Andy Bird.

You can’t beat that for a fun summer’s night entertainment, and all under-cover too. Price – £5 entry, kids under-17 get in free…  To buy advance tickets, click here

Packed Sunday
And it’s up early on the Sunday (8th) for everyone if you want to get your money’s worth at the fayre, where gates open at 11am.

The first event is the ever-popular Dog Show at 11.30am, (If you think your dog has the makings of a champion, be sure to get to the fayre by 11am to register). This year, Diane Bostock and her team are going for an upgrade, with more classes  and an even more professional approach. Entrance fee per dog is £2, and you can enter your dog for more than one class.
(See more details of the dog show classes toward the bottom of this page).

From then on it’s fast & furious.
The main attraction is the previously-mentioned re-enactment group Historia Normannis. They’ve done some high-profile venues, including Kenilworth Castle. From exciting massed combat, knights displaying their prowess in tournaments, displays of archery, woodwork and metalworking, all to the singing and music of the court of the time, Historia Normannis presents the workings of 12th century life.
Their Norman Village is especially fascinating, with various crafts explaining the Norman way of life. The village will be running all day.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - vintage vehicle in the car rally

One of the dozens of wonderful vintage vehicles in the car rally

The other big attraction is the long-established vintage vehicle rally, run by the evergreen Tom Sale, with over one hundred cars, motorcycles, lorries, coaches, machines, commercial vehicles and tractors. Every year, the rally alone brings in hundreds of visitors. Contact Tom if you’d like to take part.

Old favourites will be returning …. the Community Sports and Tug-of-War tournaments; Milner’s fun-fair; the ferret racing (with Malcolm Adlington); Anthony Hammond’s live & electric wood-carving; and Christopher’s Reptiles.
Kids will be enthralled by the Coverdale Puppets show, and Mr Abracadabra (who performs traditional Punch & Judy and balloon-art also).

It’s marvellous to be able to say that many local people will be running sales-stalls too, selling everything from ice-cream to plants. Local community groups will be hosting information stands (and probably selling a little jam on the side…)
One remarkable special stand will be that run by Levison Wood, the secretary of the local district history society. To remember one hundred years since the end of World War One, he and his wife will have a WW1 display including a mock-up  of a trench, remembering the events of a century ago and the local soldiers who took part.

If you or your local group wants a stand at the fayre, it is not too late to apply. Just email the Fayre Organiser, and he will help you sort something out – £10 a table).

And …. relax
Need a rest? Thank goodness for the ‘Saint Margaret’s Bar’ and its cooling beers and ciders (and other drinks). A big thank-you to The Draycott Arms which will be running it again this year. Zara Hutson from the Arms has promised a proper choice of beers, so if you enjoy a pint, it really will suit you.

And don’t forget the wonderful Tea Shop run by Christine Wibberley and her extended family; the barbecue, run by Draycott Moor College staff; and the hog-roast beign organised by Tom Sale’s nephew.

The small print
This is a local event, all run voluntarily by local people for a local charitable cause (the ongoing, and expensive, maintenance of our lovely 13th century village church, St Margaret’s).
The fayre is held, as usual, right in the centre of the village, on Uttoxeter Road (ST11 9AE) – with gates open at 11am. The day closes around 4pm.
Entry is £5, but children under-17 get in free.
On-site car-parking is free.
First Aid is provided by Staffordshire Police Cadets, Leek Unit.
If you can’t remember last year’s fayre, check out our review of it.

Local people, can you….?
As has been said, this is a strictly volunteer-run local event with all profits going to our village’s oldest building.
So, thinking of that – if you live locally, do you think you can help, by volunteering?
On the Sunday (and the Saturday evening) there is always a need. People are required for all sorts of tasks – from the basic, like stewarding on the car-park, right through to ‘shepherding’ the main acts.
If you can spare even a little time, or have some expertise, please email the Fayre Organiser, John Clarke. He will be very happy to hear from you!
Fayre volunteers will also want to keep an eye on the special Fayre Facebook page.

And again, special thanks to Paul & Sandy Ford of Highfields Farm. From the very start in 1990, they have hosted the fayre on their land, providing a water and electricity supply too.

See you there!!

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Dog show details…Draycott Fayre 2018 Dog Show poster

This page was last updated on June 4th
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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page. (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address. You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: village assembly / rural crime / Colours archive / council shenanigans

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2018
In this post we have news of…: the forthcoming annual village assembly, rural crime questionnaire, the Blythe Colours archive on the move, local council inaction …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a local police drop-in session…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Village get-together

It’s that time of year again when this village will be holding its annual community assembly – the yearly meeting when the residents come together to discuss how life is going in the village. It’s a custom that goes back over 150 years. (For more about village assemblies, click here and for their rules, click Parish Assembly rules).

This year however, the village councillors who are supposed to organise it have seemed less than interested in sorting it out. A date has only recently just been advertised for it (it is a fortnight away); it will be cut to just one hour this year; and it’s still not clear what will be happening in the meeting!

However, from what we can gather, it will be a local-information event. It’s hoped that village groups from Draycott/Cresswell/Totmonslow will take a stand at the event and be prepared to talk about what they do.  However, if you also want to raise an issue for general discussion, just ask for it to be put on the agenda – any local elector can do it.
But it’s all a bit last-minute…

The 2018 Draycott-in-the-Moors-Parish assembly takes place at Draycott Church Hall on Monday 14th May from 6.30-7.30. To book a stand, email Dawn Plant

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Questions about crime

If you look at a map of our district of Draycott in the Moors civil-parish, you’ll see that the vast bulk of it is rural. Even most of us who live in the ribbons along Uttoxeter Road or Sandon Road overlook fields.
And this is why the Staffordshire Police Commission is asking communities like ours to help fill in the latest crime survey.

This questionnaire is about crime in rural areas specifically – whether enough is done to combat it, and why people in rural areas don’t report crime as much as those in urban areas.Deputy Police Commissioner Sue Arnold with Sgt Rob Peacock
The Rural Crime Network questionnaire only takes a few minutes to complete. If you do fill it in, you’ll make one of our local police officers, Sgt Rob Peacock (seen above with the Staffs Deputy Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold) a very happy man.

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Blythe Colours archive on the move

The difficult situation for the Cheadle History Centre will likely have a knock-on effect for history-lovers in Cresswell. (The centre at Cheadle has moved out of its current premises because the lease is up, and they have nowhere else to go).

Blythe Colours archive arrives in Cheadle

Blythe Colours archive arrives in Cheadle

Volunteers from this website worked with the Cheadle history group to save the Blythe Colours Archive (see story), which consists of nearly three filing cabinets of material – all fascinating stuff if you lived and worked at the Cresswell factory over the last fifty years. It has been stored since 2015 at the group’s rooms in Cheadle High Street.
But where will the archive go now?

A temporary home has been found for it, but if nothing else turns up soon, it may have to be transferred out of the Moorlands to the Hanley Library Archive Centre. However, if you have ideas on what alternatively could be done with it, please use the Comments box at the bottom of this page.

Fortunately, we did manage to index all the material, and one of the volunteers has made a fantastic digital archive of it all, so progress has been made even in the short time it has been at Cheadle.
The website showing the material is really good, and well worth browsing if you have an hour or so to spare.

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Council Shenanigans

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd things that we simply haven’t been able to keep up, so we have given the council its own little section called ‘Council Shenanigans’. However, some people don’t like to read reviews of our leaders – so we suggest that those folk now click on to something else!)

Local Plan… not
Community-level councils such as Draycott Civil-Parish Council have very very few set responsibilities – but one of them is to comment on planning matters.
So, we were interested to see what our councillors would think of the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan Final Version. As the official body representing the electors here, our council’s views would have been taken seriously.

And what thoughts did our council contribute?
Umm… None.

This is pretty poor of them.
Virtually the whole of the Local Plan’s ‘rural areas allocation’ of housing & industry for the Moorlands has been shoved into Cresswell – thanks to the Blythe Park development plan – so, surely our council should have been falling over themselves to get their views heard (whether for or against).
However, apparently they thought not. (They have had since February to discuss the matter).
Poor Cresswell… ignored by its own councillors!

The last time our council put in thoughts about the Local Plan was back in the summer of last year, but they were supposed to renew them in time for this final consultation. They didn’t. It’s not clear if they forgot, or just didn’t bother.
Some residents did put in views though, which you can see on the Local Plan Comments page – including thoughts from VVSM, the Cresswell community-action group.

Public participation
Nearly all community-level councils, such as Draycott Council, have a public q&a session at the start of their meetings, because otherwise members of the public would not get a say (the public is not allowed to interrupt the actual formal proceedings).

However, in a strange move a couple of months ago, the council decided to put the q&a session to the back-end of the meeting.
This was very strange, as the poor old public would have had to sit through the one to two hours of proceedings just in order to be able to ask one question…
Not surprisingly, an objection was put in from the public… and the council reverted, and we are now back to a bit of sense.
If you want to put a question in person to the council, you are once again welcome to attend the start of council meetings at 7.30, and put your question then.

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

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

Rail-path group back to action

Things have been a bit quiet for the Friends of The Cheadle-Cresswell Railway Path  over the last six months.
The group formed in July last year, and had a good summer, with the volunteers raising funds, clearing some of the undergrowth from the path and doing some path-laying. However there has been no meeting since November.

But, the group’s secretary Oliver Griffiths, says the return of the good weather will see the resurgence of the group. All, says Oliver, that he is waiting for is some permissions from the leaseholder of the path and from some adjacent landowners.
And then meetings will re-start. All are welcome; just keep an eye on the group’s Facebook page for more info.

For those that have forgotten this story, our old branch rail-line, which went from the centre of Cresswell, via Totmonslow, right up to Cheadle, is now mostly a ‘permissive’ public-path/greenway, available to walkers and horse-riders. The path was nominated as such in 2012 – see our archive report.
Nine-tenths of it is open to the public (see article on the other tenth).

Busy route

This line was once a very busy route.

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A local industrial company headed up by a man called Robert Plant was the first to get the project properly underway in the 1880s – in those days, most railways were built by entrepreneur businesses, not by the government.
The idea was to construct a track which would leave the main Uttoxter-Stoke line at Cresswell, swerve north-eastward to Totmonslow where there was a small station, and then go north to Cheadle. It would carry not just passengers, who could then reach Stoke (or Derby) via Cresswell, but also transport freight – coal from the Draycott Cross pits.

Building started in 1888, when the first sod was cut in the April of that year by Edward Plant, Robert’s son. Within just a month a quarter of a mile had been laid, but, with subscriptions coming in slowly, work kept stopping. It wasn’t until four years later that the first section, from Cresswell to Totmonslow, was completed!
Finally, thirteen years after the commencement, the full line to Cheadle was completed.
Less than seventy years later, in 1963, the line closed to passenger traffic, though it did keep open for freight for a while.
The full story of the railway can be read in the Cheadle Branch Line Wikipedia entry.

Railway to greenway

Very few signs that the line once existed are still there. The rail-tracks themselves were lifted five years ago, making the way easier to use for walkers.

However, the old Totmonslow station building remains in the form of a cottage ‘The Ranch’. You can also still see the ruined station platforms at both Cresswell and Totmonslow.
Cresswell Station House was pulled down around the early sixties, but for a while before that, had been rented out as a home.

The local historian for Tean, Ivy Willetts-Brunt, remembers that, in the 1930s, her cousin Jack used to go daily to collect cold fish delivered to Totmonslow Station (by then also known as Tean Station). It was needed for the Tean Fish & Chip Shop!

Thanks to all those who have sent us photos of the old railway line before the tracks were pulled up. But can anyone help us with more information? Rough dates for the photos we have shown would be a start…
Also, some more anecdotes and stories about the use of the line would be good. For example, we were once told that the station house at Cresswell was once rented out to the well-known sixties pop-group The Marauders. Is that really true?
Please use the comments box below….

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

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

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Council resignation

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

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

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

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

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

– – –
Time for a sing-song

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

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

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

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

– – –
Planning neighbourliness

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

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

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

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

– – –
Getting down with the police

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

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

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

– – –
Council Shenanigans

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

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

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS: Council payments / a 105th / W West van / kids’ sports

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid March 2018
In this post we have news of…: Betty’s 105th party / the Wild West van  from Cresswell / overpayment by councillors? / new sports sessions for kids …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Easter Ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Happy Long Life

One birthday party we have all been looking forward to is that of the district’s oldest resident, Betty (Bessie) Hammond.
Betty is a legend in so many ways, and she celebrates her 105th (!!) birthday later this month. She was born before the First World War even got started…

Betty Hamond & card

The 100th Birthday party – only five years ago…

She does admit that she gets more tired more quickly these days, but even so, she still accepts offers to “do her bit”. She was the official guest of honour last summer when the new £500,000 community pavilion was opened at the local cricket club. She cut the ribbon to open it.

To mark this amazing birthday milestone, an ‘open’ party for all friends, neighbours and colleagues is being held at Draycott Sports Centre on Saturday 24 March, 2pm onwards.
However, over such a long life, Betty has made so many friends that it would be impossible to send out invitations to all. So, as Susan Hulme, Betty’s daughter, is telling everyone: “…don’t wait for an invitation, just come along and say hello… If you know Betty – consider yourself invited!”

– – –
On the road again

With the winter behind us and the warm weather coming up, one local man is gearing up for the festival season.
Ian Barlow, who runs the Little House catering-van, can be found every weekday morning by the bowling green on Blythe Business Park. His fry-ups are the best of British, and all (not just those working on the park) are welcome to visit, take a seat, and enjoy a breakfast.
His range has now extended, and extra, more exotic dishes are also on offer, including some spicy Tex-Mex chilli etc.

However, in the summer months Ian also travels out on weekends – to look after hungry festival-goers.
So… he decided a new look was needed, and he experimented last summer with a Wild West design on his van (to go with the chilli range!), which was made up to look like a log-cabin. It was so successful, he’s keeping the look. Ian will also sport a ten-gallon hat when he feels like it, just to complete the appearance! Ian barlow and van

Check him out at local festivals (including CloggerFest) and say hello.
John Wayne would be proud….

– – –
Get the kids moving

If Spring is here, then it’s time to get the kids running about again – and our local sports clubs are doing just that.

Next weekend (Sunday 18 March), Draycott Sports Centre is hosting a so-called ‘Quorn Cup’ – which brings together one adult and one child from a family, to play as a pair in a tennis tournament. A soft ‘red’ ball is used to make it fairer.
But, more than that, the centre is re-starting its Mini-Tennis sessions. Kids from as young as three (up to ten years) can apply for the lessons, which take place on the indoor courts with qualified coaches. You can book online for the lessons – click here.

Blythe All Stars posterMeanwhile at our local cricket club, a new initiative this season is the involvement with the ECB’s ‘All Stars Cricket’ project for kids. These sessions will be between 5pm-6pm on Fridays. If you know anyone under the age of 7,  Blythe CC’s All Stars Cricket could be for them…

Well done to our sports clubs for continuing to be so family-friendly.

– – –
Thousands of pounds…

Last month Draycott Council’s Clerk, Kate Bradshaw, aftre nearly four years in post, resigned.
(Because the records of the relevant meetings have been kept secret, we don’t know what has been going on to cause this).

Anyway, the post is now vacant. Applications are welcomed – closing date April 9th. A Clerk is the main employee of a local, parish council, and is paid to manage its affairs.

The salary for the post was going to be listed at around £210 to £250 per month – but, that rate now seems to be under question…  as a member of the public, Mr Warburton, raised an interesting point at the last council meeting: is the current salary correct?

Mr Warburton’s research indicated to him that the current hourly rate of £12.50 for the Clerk seemed high; and he said that, in his opinion, councillors, by applying an inappropriate rate, may have over-spent taxpayers’ money by some £3000.

Mr Warburton may well have a good point. The hourly rate has been around £12 for the last few years, back to the time of the previous clerk in fact, and councillors may not have been as diligent as they should have been over the past decade or so in reviewing the rate each year. Did they give it proper annual examination?
In law, local/parish councils can pay whatever they like (some councils just barely pay the minimum wage to their clerks, while others do pay the top rate). So, the councillors are within their rights to pay what they like…

If this sort of thing interests you, Mr Warburton’s points should now be on the agenda for the council’s next meeting – which takes place on Monday 26 March (not on the usual third Monday) at 7.30pm.

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

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

NEWS: Local Plan / Armistice events / potholes!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2018
In this post we have news of…: Moorlands Local Plan / Armistice Day events / pothole misery …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a pop-jazz band evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Plan coming to conclusion

The latest draft of the Staffordshire Moorlands ‘Local Plan’ is now published,  and copies can be seen in libraries and on-line. This is the fifth draft, and, in effect, this is the last, as no more changes are likely outside of a massive surprise.

It only reveals what we already knew: that Draycott, in effect, will soon become an urban village, as part of a ribbon development with Blythe Bridge. Blythe Bridge’s village-boundary is even to be extended this way.
Previous protesting comments from local residents did not shake the planners’ resolve.

So… Draycott will see two new housing estates in the next couple of years. Two already have permission to go ahead – one of 168 homes at Cresswell, plus one of 118 homes bordering the A50 on a site behind Chandni Cottage (which will soon grow, to become 300 homes). Overall, 1500 homes are set to be built in the Blythe Bridge/Draycott/Caverswall ‘ribbon’ area over the next 15 years.
Plus… the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road already has outline permission for further housing & employment ‘opportunities’ in the near future.

As for employment sites, Blythe Park in Cresswell is set to be one of the biggest developments across the region. Our local community-action group VVSM are on record as saying that “… what this means is that ALL of Staffordshire Moorlands’ quota for required rural allocation of employment-sites is now to be found in … Cresswell ! What’s more, the expected Blythe Vale allocation, which will stretch from Blythe Bridge to Cresswell, could mean dozens of workshops and small factories being built on the land there on top of the ridge over the next twenty years. All this will change the face of this village.”
Residents in Cheadle Road will also note that a new employment park is also earmarked in the Plan, on a site off New Haden Road (just down from Draycott Cross).Moorlands Local Plan symbol
(What’s a little mysterious is that sections on traveller-site allocation haves been left out. Previous drafts had sites in Draycott and Cresswell strongly tipped, but this current draft is silent on the matter. Watch this space, as they say.)

This final draft is now open to consultation, but only for legal points – one can no longer challenge the locations or numbers of homes & employment sites.

So… what’s next? Staffordshire Moorlands Council will submit this Plan for approval to a government inquiry in the autumn.
And there you have the only real reason to comment on the current Plan – because anyone who does make a comment will also be offered the chance to put their case before the government inspector in the autumn – in fact this is the only way you can ‘qualify’ to take part in the inquiry. It seems a daft way to do it, but there it is.
So, yes, fireworks could start again in the autumn – but don’t count on it.

SEE: Staffs Moorlands Local Plan Spring 2018 Revision

– – –
Pothole misery

Once upon a time, a pothole in the roads was an unusual sight. Not any more.
In the 200 yards along Cresswell Lane, between the A50 flyover and Blythe Business Park, motorists now have at least five chances to crack their axles. Pothole in Cresswell Lane
This length of road is in such a poor state that, as soon as a pothole is repaired, it breaks up again.
Motorists who know this stretch play a dangerous game, of swerving round them.

The plague of local potholes came to a head during the recent snowfalls: if you can’t see a pothole, you can’t avoid it. One poor driver smacked into the huge, snow-covered pothole outside Grange Farm (on Cheadle Road) – and told us all that his van had to be off the road for over a week for repairs.
Residents attending a recent council meeting also complained of the pothole that has suddenly appeared outside Hilltop Farm on the road between the Draycott Arms and Totmonslow; cars swerving round that particular pothole (in a stretch where fast-moving traffic is prevalent), have already caused some real near-misses.

Responsibility for repairs falls to Staffordshire County’s Highways Department who are promising £5million to sort the issue, as of April. The county even has a dedicated Potholes Update webpage!
But, as far as we are thinking, the answer to it all is drive more slowly… the potholes are probably here to stay.

– – –
Armistice commemorations

It may seem a long way off, but in November the country will be remembering 100 years since the end of the First World War. A series of commemoration events across November 11th will look back at the day the nation emerged from all that misery.

Draycott is being invited to take part, as are all other parishes across the UK, by ringing its church bells in a ‘joyful peal’ in the evening on the day.
And the St Margaret’s Bell-Ringing group would welcome any new-comers who feel they could contribute. Recently the group has struggled a bit to find enough members, so volunteering to help them could be your way to take part in the Great-War Armistice Event Day.St Margaret's church in snow

Ring a bell at St Margaret’s!

Anyone can ring a church bell – but you do need some practice, so expressing your willingness is best done now or as soon as possible. Your man to contact is John Clarke, and he will tell you what’s what.

If you are interested more widely in how Staffordshire will remember Armistice Day, there is a free event taking place next Sunday (10th March) in Stafford – the Staffordshire Great-War Commemoration Conference – and all are welcome. If you have an idea, or just want to join in, this could be a meeting worth attending.

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

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

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

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

– – –
Chandni burglary

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

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

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

– – –
New Haden generosity

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

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

– – –
The fun of the fayre

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

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

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

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

– – –
‘Missing’ notification

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

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

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

– – –
Pollution report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– – –
‘Cresswell Circle’

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

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

Cresswell Roundabout details

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

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

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

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

– – –
Community hub open for business

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

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

All smiles in front of the new community hub

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

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

– – –
Railway petition

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

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

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

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

– – –
Izaak reduced

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

Izaak walton Inn new sign

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

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

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