NEWS: crash inquest / verge parking / register your vote / Sandon Rd spat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2019
In this post we have news of…:  inquest results for road crash / parking on verges to be illegal? / are you registered to vote? / Sandon Road planning spat… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including choir concert…  Check out the Events page)

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

_ _ _
Fatalities were avoidable

So, at last, we know something of the circumstances which led to the sad death of Becky Smith and her child Corey. The two died in a road accident on Draycott level last August, but the coroner’s inquest has only just taken place.
It is a very sad story indeed, as it indicates that these deaths were probably quite avoidable.Draycott Road accident Aug 2018
According to witnesses to the court, including the one child survivor of the accident, Becky was ‘foaming and shaking at the wheel’. This means that she was probably suffering an epileptic fit as she was driving. In fact, Becky had indeed been diagnosed epileptic – but she had not informed the DVLA; and ‘active’ epileptics are not allowed a driving licence.
Investigators revealed that the toddlers in the car were not using booster seats.
And medical evidence revealed Becky was over the driving limit for cannabis.

A sad list of three avoidable factors… which just go to show that the rules are there for a reason.
Thank goodness that the driver of the other vehicle in the crash was not badly hurt.

One silver lining to this terrible dark cloud is that the accident was not caused by speeding, as many residents had feared.
In fact, we now know that two out of the three fatal accidents in the last year in Draycott were actually down to other reasons, not speeding.
The third fatality, that of motorcyclist Martin Barker in January, has yet to come before an inquest.

_ _ _
Ready for the elections?

If you want to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming Draycott Village Council elections, you must submit your form within the next weeks.

There are very few qualifying conditions to stand as a village councillor – almost none in fact – but one definite one is that you must already be on the electoral roll, i.e. registered to vote.
If you can’t remember if you are registered, there is an easy way to check.
If it turns out that you are not already registered, it’s very easy to register in time. Click here to learn more about how to do it.

_ _ _
Parking on pavements – for and against….

An interesting post & photo appeared recently on the village Facebook page which read:
“Can I ask that whoever keeps parking on the pavement on Uttox Rd looks at this photo and realises that Pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and those with mobility aids cannot get past due to the car parked on the pavement and the car behind it.”verge parking pn Uttoxeter Rd
The problem of parking on pavements/verges in Draycott is not a new one.

Over four years ago, Draycott village council was dealing with complaints from motorists trying to pull out from side-roads (e.g. Stuart Avenue) who were finding it difficult, as verge-parked cars were blocking their line of sight.
But the council simply followed the legal line: “…it is not illegal to park on verges though it is illegal to obscure the vision of other vehicles. Residents are advised to call the police when this is the case”.
But there is also the fact that the grass verges were designed to be part of the attractive presentation of the village; and a run of churned-up, muddy verges goes against that vision.  So the village council does need to be pro-active, not just stand back from the issue.

Since then some householders have got so fed up, they’ve applied to the Staffordshire Highways Team to have white posts installed on their verges to stop the errant verge-parkers…

White posts on Sandon Road

White posts on Sandon Road

Yet… there is after all the other side of the coin.
Some motorists do deliberately half-park on pavements in narrow side-streets, as an act of courtesy, because they are just kindly trying to make room for others – especially around the corners of bends, where it is (actually) quite considerate.
Some park on pavements & verges because they are sick of getting their wing-mirrors clipped by passing cars driving too close!
However, there is no ‘right’ by a householder to park on pavements, even ones outside their own home.

Some residents have cleverly through through this issue and re-designed the front yards of their houses as two or even three-car parking lots. This also means they get a discount on car-insurance, as all the family’s cars can be accommodated in a ‘driveway’ (driveway parking gets a discount in car insurance).

But it is a growing issue – because more and more families are owning more and more vehicles.
It is so problematic that local councils in Staffordshire are set to follow the example laid down in London, where parking on pavements or verges is strictly illegal.
(As you might guess, the British Parking Association has even launched a ‘Positive Parking’ campaign to push the idea).
Even our local council here in the Moorlands region is considering the idea.

But …. what do you think?
Have a look at the comments on this subject (just scroll further down this page), and use our Comments box there to let us hear your thoughts too.

_ _ _
Construction at Blythe Park…  without the roundabout?

Never a month goes by in our district without a new planning story!
This month, we learn that the period of public consultation about the latest situation concerning the access road onto Blythe Park in Cresswell has been extended, from March 6th to March 27th. No one knows why really.
However, the extra time limit could have been given because the developers have had a bit of a slap from the Highways authority.

The developers want to forget building a promised roundabout for now, and continue to use the current access road on to the business park.
But, in responding to the developer’s application last month, Simon Haw, head of Staffordshire Highways, pointed out the lack of traffic-forecast information in this plan – meaning he was minded to object to the application.
This is not good news for the developers, so maybe they need the extra time to scramble around and get such information sorted.

In the meantime, a group of local residents have added their objections to the plan too. They have written up their feelings in a formal letter which has been submitted to the Planning Committee.
See the letter by clicking here.

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

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

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

NEWS: HGV lane / balloon drops / photos needed / sad war memorial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  lane approved for HGVs / balloon drops on Cresswell / sad saga of war memorial / appeal for photographers… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a first-aid course…  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

_ _ _
Lane approved for construction traffic

As we suspected, the application by the St Modwen developers to use Woodlands Lane (at the furthermost west end of Draycott, by Chandni Cottage) as a ‘haulage road’ for its construction lorries was approved without a hitch by the Moorlands Planning Committee.
The lane will now see dozens of lorries going along it while the building of the new Blythe Vale estate takes place. The building phase will take about two years.
Some residents did their best to oppose the plans, but their concerns were put to one side. (See objections one, two, and three).

St Modwen haulage road application

The lane will take construction traffic while the new main access road to the estate is being built

What is odd is that these objectors got no formal support from Draycott Council. Our councillors publicly said they opposed the plans – but, strangely, these same councillors did not register a formal complaint on the relevant planning-page as they could have.

Why not?
Unbelievably… it turns out that councillors were ‘unaware’ that they could register a comment.
Really, this is not good enough. They should know that they can comment. We have a right to expect more of our council….
The current crop of members on Draycott Council are, we know, good and honest people – but they don’t seem to understand how the modern world works, or how to represent their district properly in this 21st century.

In fact, as it happens, all the current members are standing down at the forthcoming elections, which take place in May… and so it is an ideal time for fresh blood to come in.
Would YOU like to stand for election and take a place on the council? Check out this guide on how to do it.

_ _ _
Funny thing happened….

A walk in the country is usually a quiet affair… but last week some of us went for a walk along the public track behind Blythe Business Park, when we saw a balloon come drifting down to land in a nearby field.
It landed quite softly and no one was harmed, but obviously it was not a planned landing…

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Then slowly, in front of us, just behind the rise in the ground, the balloon just deflated…
You don’t see that too often.

_ _ _
Calling local photographers

Lydia Hooley, the Staffordshire Police’s Community Engagement Officer, has contacted us to ask if we can put out an alert to friendly photographers.

Lydia is putting together a new ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ website and is looking for photographs that represent Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow. These should be pictures of recognisably local features, such as our scenery, monuments or ‘landmarks’.

Send your snaps to nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk, and – who knows? – it could be your photo that goes on to represent Draycott and/or surrounding hamlets on the “localities page” of the new website.

_ _ _
Sorry memorial project

The ongoing saga of Draycott’s WW1 Anniversary project is not a happy one.

Nearly all other parish councils across the country responded to the anniversary of the First World War Armistice 100th Anniversary last year by organising wonderful projects and creating permanent reminders of that fateful day a century ago.

Fulford War Memorial Staffs

Fulford War Memorial

For example, in next-door Fulford, the local council worked with the village community group to ensure the anniversary would be remembered for a long time, by raising over £7000 to renovate the village’s old war memorial.

However, here in Draycott, our council dithered.
Eventually, virtually at the last minute, one councillor got a yew-sapling from his own garden; and the council got permission to plant it in St Margaret’s churchyard.
Unfortunately, not all the families with loved ones resting there in the churchyard had been consulted, and some disliked this ‘intrusion’ – and objected, going to the diocese authorities. (The council also hadn’t got around to ordering a plaque to explain what the plant was doing there).
And, suddenly, a few weeks ago, some vandal uprooted it and chucked it in a bin – from which it had to be rescued.

Yew tree memorial

The yew memorial is now abandoned at the far end of the churchyard

It’s a bit of an undignified tale.

Surely, Draycott councillors simply needed to get their act together well before the anniversary, and plan out a proper and fitting memorial project.
But they didn’t.

No one seems to know quite what will happen next.

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

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

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

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

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

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

_ _ _
Return of the Potholes

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

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

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell.

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

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

Blythe Business Park potholes

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

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

So… drive carefully!

_ _ _
Please help the Fayre

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

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

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

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

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

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

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

_ _ _
Rail history coming to light

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

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

_ _ _
Candidates required

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

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

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

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

And the best of British luck!!

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

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

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

NEWS: Fatality / planning revisions / handyperson wanted / 5* restaurant

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid Jan 2019
In this post we have news of…:  another death on Draycott Level / planning changes at Blythe Vale and Blythe Park / apply to be our lengthsman / Golden Keg’s achievement …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  Check out the Events page)

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

_ _ _
Fatality on Draycott Level

It’s sad to have to report another road accident death on Draycott Level – it’s the third in the last six months.
Last Friday afternoon, Martin Barker was travelling home on his motor-bike when there was a collision with an Audi car just outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant. Martin, who is only 50, died of his injuries the next day. He will be sadly missed.
The people in the car were uninjured.
If you saw, or know, anything, of this incident please contact the police on 101, quoting incident 474 of January 11.

We won’t know the cause of the accident until the inquest is held in a few weeks’ time, but already there are calls to make that stretch of road safer. (It’s a 40mph limit through Draycott until you get to the dual carriageway, when it suddenly becomes 60).

So it’s timely that Staffordshire County Council has just granted £5000 (from its Safer Roads project) to this district; and Draycott Council is in charge of organising the spend.

Speed indication device at draycottAt the moment, our councillors want to use the money to buy at least one permanent SID (SIDs are those electronic signs which flash up your speed as you pass it – see pic) – but it’s not clear how useful a SID will be. After all, we already have lots of speed-limit signs on that stretch now, and the drivers ignore them!
Do you have alternative thoughts about how to spend the money? If you do, email the council or turn up to the next meeting, on February 11th.

_ _ _
Another year, another planning application

It seems unbelievable, but when we just thought the dust would settle, slightly, up pops more hefty sets of documents to have to wade through.

In the latest twist to the Blythe Vale project, St Modwen Homes now want to revise their proposals. Instead of the 118 homes they already have approval to build, they now want a revised application – for 146 homes, i.e. to squeeze in an extra 28 homes on the same site.

As this is such a flagship project for the Moorlands Council, the chances of any objections to it being successful are almost zero – but at least this is a chance to comment again on one problematic situation, the traffic issue: namely, the exit road off the estate coming out onto the dual carriageway, by Chandni Cottage.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the proposal means an awful lot of traffic at that point (the estate itself actually will have 270 parking spaces!)
So, the thing is: what provision is there for traffic & pedestrians to exit the estate and then cross the dual carriageway, in order to get onto the road opposite into Blythe Bridge?

Exit from blythe vale

Exit from Blythe Vale on to the dual carriageway (BB Roundabout to the left). The grey area is roads that St Modwen must now be responsible for; the oblong box is the hatched area; and the dog-leg shape by it going across the dual carriageway is… what?

However, St Modwen’s diagram doesn’t give us a clear answer: there is a hatched area (i.e. one where cars cannot be stationary) but the little dog-leg shape by it has us foxed. Is it for traffic lights? Maybe.
This question has been referred to Draycott Council, and, with luck, they will have an answer for all of us by their next meeting on Feb 11th.

+
Meanwhile, Cresswellians have their own bit of planning puzzlement.
As people from there will know, approval was only given for the expansion of the Blythe Business Park on condition that all the new commercial units were completed, and a completely new access road was built across the site (starting at the still-to-be-built Cresswell roundabout).
Well, the developers, MJ Barratt/Scentarea, don’t want to wait for that. They want to get the first of the units, the new Greenhouse People factory, viable as soon as possible – so they want permission to use the current access road into the site for now, and not have to build the new access road (and roundabout) just yet.
But some nearby residents are concerned about extra traffic from the new factory using the current access road, because this access road is very close to the railway crossing.
If you too have thoughts, you have until 27th March (this is a new, extended date to the original date) to comment. Click here to comment online.

_ _ _
Five-star food!

One bit of good news (at last) is that a Draycott restaurant featured in the 2018 list of cleanest and best-run establishments in the county.

The Sentinel newspaper worked it all out, using Food Standards Agency data, and found out that the Golden Keg in Uttoxeter Road received a five-star food-hygiene rating last year.

Golden Keg staff had a stall at the 2018 Draycott Fayre

Congratulations to them!!

_ _ _
Fancy some casual outdoor work? For money?

As readers of this website will know, many residents have not been happy for some time that Draycott Council has not made more effort to keep the district up to the mark by ensuring necessary maintenance jobs are done.

For some unclear reason, for the last five years, the council has chosen not to use its so-called ‘lengthsman’ funds & grants to pay for a handyperson – i.e. someone to ensure the upkeep of clean pavements, see to collapsing signs, do minor hedge-cutting and so on.

Pavement encroachment, dec 18

This pavement near The Draycott Arms should be able to “accommodate a buggy”, but is so overgrown that that would be impossibe. It needs clearing.

(As one cynic pointed out, it might have helped if they had actually advertised that the post was available…)

Anyway, at last, they are advertising it. Hurrah. See advert.
If you fancy putting in a few hours now and again, the council wants you.
You will have to drop them a line stating why you think you could do the job and what remuneration (per hour) you would like.
But they want to appoint someone quite quickly, so don’t hang about if you are interested.

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

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

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

Happy Christmas!

Season’s greetings!
And the very best for a peaceful and contented 2019…

St Margarets Church in snowIn the absence of traditional Yuletide weather, we thought we’d put you in the mood with this old photo of St Margaret’s under snow.  Enjoy.

NEWS: sad Brexiteer / useless police? / draughty shelters / give to the homeless

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid Dec 2018
In this post we have news of…: Sir Bill Cash’s set-back / useless police, say councillors / windows removed from bus shelters / how to donate locally to the homeless …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including carol concerts…  Check out the Events page)
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
Bill’s disappointment

Sir Bill CashOne of the most disappointed men in Britain this week must be our very own MP, the Conservative Sir Bill Cash. (Sir Bill’s constituency covers the whole of Draycott and district).
Sir Bill (see pic right) is a ‘hard Brexiteer’, and was one of the first MPs to put his name down calling for a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May, the leader of his own party. However, as you probably know, although the vote was indeed eventually called, his side was easily defeated – and Theresa May continues as Conservative leader (and prime minister).

For 78 year-old Sir Bill, the current Brexit situation is a bitter one. He has spent the thirty-plus years of his parliamentary life opposing Britain’s presence in the European Union; and he detests the idea of even the ‘soft Brexit’ which now seems to be on the cards (maybe!).
He has literally filed thousands of questions in Parliament on the subject of Europe, and recently he has concentrated on it so much, he seems to be almost ignoring all other issues.

By the way, if you would like to speak in person to Bill, he is holding a surgery locally this Saturday (15th) -see our Local Events page for details.

_ _ _
Not so much of a shelter now

It’s a case of now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t.
What has happened to the perspex windows in the bus shelters at the western end of Draycott Level?
The windows in the shelters at Stuart Avenue and outside The Golden Keg seem to have just … disappeared.

 

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Although there is currently no public bus service through Draycott (though there are hopes to being one back), the shelters are still used by children waiting for their school bus. The windows are a protection against wind, rain and snow.

So who authorised their removal? This was the question put by a member of the public at the last meeting of Draycott Council (because the council owns the two shelters).
The question also followed formal complaints to the council from residents not happy about the windows’ removal.

After a lot of fuzzy responses, the actual answer to the question finally arrived: one councillor, who had been asked to tidy up the shelters, took it upon himself to make the decision to take the windows out – without referring the matter back to the full council. He thought the windows were detrimental.
You’d think that that off-the-cuff act would slightly bother the rest of the councillors, wouldn’t you? But they were simply indifferent.
As for the complaints from the public about the matter, they were dismissed out of hand as spurious.

This is yet another case of Draycott councillors simply thinking that the public don’t need to be consulted. Because, in fact, there was indeed a useful debate to be had about whether the windows in the bus shelters should be removed – for instance, the perspex had got discoloured & ugly versus the fact that they do provide protection for the kids – and it would also be nice to even have such a debate!
So why wasn’t the matter put on the agenda of a public meeting in a proper fashion?

This simply illustrates that we do need new councillors – ones that will try to find out the public’s views on things, and communicate with electors on public issues, before they act.
There will be elections to Draycott Council in five months time – will YOU step forward and stand, and bring a fresh approach?

_ _ _
Thoughts on local policing

At their last meeting, a few Draycott councillors said they had witnessed themselves drug-dealing taking place on Draycott Level. It was very clear to them what was going on.
But they also admitted that they had not informed the local police, or reported descriptions of the miscreants to Crimestoppers. The reason, they said, was that it wasn’t worth it – and no other councillor disagreed.

This is a sad reflection on the state of things today. When our leading citizens, as in this case, no longer trust the police to act on information about criminal behaviour, it’s a sorry lookout.
So… what do YOU think: are the local police really so useless?

We’ve put a poll on this page for you to give your opinion.
If you saw drug-dealing taking place locally, would you report it (even anonymously), or, like our councillors, think it just not worth it? What would you do?

In the meantime, we understand there were thefts from vans last week (the night of the 3rd & 4th Dec) in Stuart Ave, at the western end of Draycott. If you saw anything, you can call 101 to speak to the police or email our local PCSO james.naylor@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk.

_ _ _
Help the homeless

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Homeless at Xmas

With all this political stuff going on, it’s almost hard to remember that this is the Christmas season. However, if you take a look at our What’s On pages, you’ll see lots of carol concerts within a three-mile radius, and even a pantomime!

St Mary’s Church in Cresswell thinks that it’s a time also to remember the needy. After their carol service on Sunday (16th Dec at 3pm) they’ll be accepting donations for the homeless.

Donations should be specific: what is needed are quilts, men’s socks & underwear (new), gloves, hats, scarves, basic toiletries, shower gel, deodorant etc.
Donations should be packaged in a sturdy bag, or cardboard boxes.
You are asked to give what you can.

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

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

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NEWS: developers’ dates / jail term / more b&b / have a hall party!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Nov 2018
In this post we have news of…: development set to heat up / jail for Draycott racist /  church hall party venue / Arms set to be an Inn …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Turkey and Tinsel Dinner Dance…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Construction to start in 2019

After years of being on tenterhooks, it now looks like it will be early next year that we will be experiencing the expected development construction round here.

As regards the Blythe Park expansion in Cresswell, the local community-action group (VVSM) did their best again to slow down the process for more appraisal, as they have successfully done in the past, but this time they could not persuade the powers-that-be.

Propsed Blythe B Park link road

Cresswell plan. The diagonal thick blue line is the railway. The red lines are the roundabout and new link road across the business park – the fat red space on the right is the new warehouse to come. The blue line is the boundary of the whole development site (pic from SMDC Planning Website)

The proposal for a roundabout & link-road & giant warehouse was passed by the Staffs Moorlands Council last week. (Check out the details here).
What this means is that 2019 will be a year of lots of traffic disruption in Cresswell while the roundabout is constructed.

Meanwhile, the other huge development in Draycott area is the one next to the A50 roundabout – the coming ‘Blythe Vale’ housing estate.
The developers in this instance, St Modwen, are so anxious to press on with starting preliminary construction works that they have put in an application to use Woodlands Lane as a temporary construction-vehicles road as soon as possible. (Woodlands Lane is the unmade road that starts by the Chandni Cottage restaurant).
If they get permission for that – (BB & Forsbrook councillors have already okayed it, but Draycott Council has not yet discussed it) – work on the site will start early next year.

So… the year 2019 will see lots of construction & lots of construction vehicles in our neighbourhood.  Sigh.

The final piece of planning news is that the application for houses to be built on the north side of the railway line in Cresswell (on Railway Cottages Lane) has been turned down.
The SMDC planning department said it would be incorrect to allow development such as this in a quiet spot such as Cresswell.  Erm… they clearly had – erm – forgotten (?) about the massive housing estate about to be built just 200 yards away!
It honestly makes you wonder if planning department’s left hand knows what the right hand is doing…

_ _ _
Xmas parties anyone?

We had the pleasure of having a good look round the Draycott Church Hall the other day. The refurbishments are now all pretty much done, and it’s a credit to everyone involved.
The heating is all up to date, and new insulated fire-proof curtains keep the heat in. The kitchen, and the toilet, have been renovated and the whole interior looks bright and airy. Even the lighting has been renovated – there is bright lighting, for meetings, and low light, for parties.Draycott Church hall interiorDespite the difficulties of the access road, which has a number of potholes, the numbers of groups using the hall have increased as a result.
So… the hall is now open for even more business!

It would be an ideal venue for a family gathering (there is even a ‘secure garden’ out back for the kids to play in) and the floor is a smooth wood, ideal for a little waltzing (or more energetic styles)!
Sixty is about the maximum number it can comfortably hold, but it still looks full with just thirty. There is parking for forty cars.
If you’re looking for a ‘happy place’ for your Christmas gathering, why not check it out?
(For costs and contact details, click here).

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Beds & Breakfast galore

Congratulations to Zara and Brayn at The Draycott Arms, who heard last week that their application to create new b&b accommodation has been passed – so they are now all set to get started on the renovation…
Thus, sometime next year, The Draycott Arms (should it now be called The Draycott Inn??!) will be able to offer four B&B rooms.
Zara & Brayn are a hard-working young couple with great ambitions for this village – so we think it’s great news.

Hilltop Farm Barns signThe Draycott Arms is not far from Hilltop Farm Barns, where Nola and Bill run the other Draycott accommodation.
The farm has its large Horseshoe Cottage for hire as a self-catering holiday home; it has three bedrooms and so comfortably sleeps 6 people.
In fact, if you fancy a peek at Horseshoe, Nola & Bill are holding their annual Christmas Get-Together Morning in a few weeks’ time (see What’s On page for details). The event raises money for repairs at St Margaret’s Church, and all are welcome.

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Jail term for racist

Finally, a disturbing thought.
Some of us were quite shocked last month when a Draycott resident, Barbara Fielding-Morriss, got a one-year jail term for ‘inciting racial hatred’.  Ms Fielding Morris, who once stood for election as an MP, expressed her unpleasant views about Jews in her writings and publicity.

At first, twelve months in jail seemed an excessively harsh sentence for a 79-year old lady, whom many of us just viewed (frankly) as a bit of a crank.
But, talking about it in the local pub, it was brought home to us that words can be as dangerous as anything else, because they inspire others to do harm.
What happened was that someone at the bar reminded us that, only last month, a man with a gun had attacked a Jewish congregation in America, killing eleven people, shouting that he hated Jews.
To most of us, racism just seems barmy, so we often don’t take any racist views we hear very seriously – but, as this case demonstrates, the courts rather think we should.

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

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

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

Our Remembrance

This weekend sees Remembrance Sunday, which by chance also falls on the same day as Armistice Day – November 11th. This particular Remembrance Day is extra special, as we all know, because it is the 100th anniversary of the day the Great War came to an end in 1918 – when peace was declared, and “the guns fell silent”.

All over the country, villages have been pulling the stops out to ensure their own war-dead and war-wounded are remembered; and to remind the young that war is a terrible thing, with a terrible cost.
The main event here in Draycott will the peal of bells for peace (see below for details).

War memorial

The folks who put this website together decided to make research into Draycott-le-Moors Parish’s war memorial our contribution to the Great War Anniversary project.
It was a big surprise to us that almost no-one knew much about how the memorial had come to be, nor about those whose names are commemorated on it, so we have been working on it (see our research).  Though research never really gets ‘completed’, we are happy that a lot more is now known about the memorial because of our efforts.

Draycott war memorial

Draycott war memorial inside St Margaret’s

This month we also got the good news that the Imperial War Museum has crowned our hard-work by approving our application to include it in its official listing of memorials. Check out the new entry – click here.

Efforts

Sadly however, the businesses, voluntary groups and institutions of Draycott district  don’t really seem to have risen to the great challenge as they have in other areas – with one honourable exception.
(As far as we know… though, if you know of other significant commemorative efforts in Draycott, please contact us).

Other Moorlands villages have: designed huge, creative poppy displays; put together commemoration gardens; arranged lectures & readings & concerts; commissioned sculptures; supported history publications; built beacons; and organised exhibitions about their community at time of war.   Even in villages next-door to us you will observe:  wonderful commemorative gates (Forsbrook); ghostly soldier figures (Dilhorne); a remembrance garden (Fulford); a cenotaph poppy display (Blythe Bridge); a ‘Poppy Party’ (Tean).
But here in Draycott, sadly, nothing to compare – bar the one we will now highlight.

(At least, someone has put up poppies on a dozen of the lampposts along the main section of Uttoxeter Road – thanks to them.)

However, back to the honourable exception.
For a major gesture, once again we have to thank John Clarke.  John, who seems to leads so many community projects here in this district, has worked with the bell-ringing team at St Margaret’s over the last six months to ensure that Draycott is part of at least one set of national celebrations.
At 7pm on Sunday evening (November 11th), the bells of St Margaret’s will ring out in a long peal, as part of the nation-wide ‘Ringing Remembers’ event – when thousands of church bells across the country and across other Moorlands villages will ring out, all exactly at the same time.

Not only will the action echo the bells that rang out for peace exactly 100 years ago, it will also be another formal moment to remember those who were mown down in the slaughter of World War One.  Everyone who wishes can attend, and all are invited to light a candle, as a commemoration, and as a hope for peace.
So it should be an emotional few minutes for all those who can be there, either inside or outside the church.  Thanks to John for making it happen.

Services

Of course, St Margaret’s Church will also be holding, as usual, its annual remembrance service. For details, please see our What’s On pages.

Grave of Bede Vavasour

Grave of Bede Vavasour at St Mary’s Church, showing the RAF symbol

As for observances at war graves, across Draycott district there is only one official war grave (see pic above) – that of Bede Vavasour, the young pilot who died in World War Two. He was descended from the Vavasour/Stourton family, who were the major ‘lords of the manor’ round here in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  His grave can be seen in the cemetery at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Cresswell.  Each Remembrance Sunday, his grave is formally blessed by the church priest.

Inspiration needed

It’s a shame that Draycott’s efforts – apart from the admittedly wonderful bell-ringing event – have been so slim.
The village really does need some inspirational and energetic community leaders, ones who could come forward to make things happen on occasions such as these.
Cross fingers that there are, and that they will appear soon.

Remembrance display by Draycott Manor College

Remembrance display by Draycott Manor College

NEWS: vacancy deadline / council tax mess / banner of history / Local Plan debates

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late October 2018
In this post we have news of…: the council needs you! / council tax mess-up / Draycott’s history banner / debates at Local Plan inquiry …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a talk about World War One…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Be a councillor… for six months…

Following the death of its vice-chairman, Draycott in the Moors Parish Council has announced that any resident who feels themselves suitable to fill the post should come forward and apply for a place on the council.
There won’t be an election; instead, any resident should just drop a line to the clerk explaining why they think they could be good in the role.

There are a few stipulations: you must live or work locally, be an elector etc (see councillor stipulations), but it’s all fairly straightforward.
Your note to the clerk should give a brief description of yourself and what your connection with the Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow area is and a line about why you want to be a councillor. If you are selected to the short list, you’ll be expected to make a short presentation about yourself to the councillors too. The councillors will then make a choice.

This is a great opportunity for someone who just wants to see up-close how local government works at the village level. So…. why not give it a go??
As there will be full elections next May, this post is only for six months (though the candidate can seek re-election then if they want, of course).
You have until November 9th to email the clerk (draycottparishcouncil@aol.co.uk); and you should be available on the evening of November 12th to see the councillors.

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Banner of history

The History Weekend at St Margaret’s Church was a great success, with dozens of people coming from far and wide to check out the ancient building and also to join in the celebrations for its 750th anniversary.
There were some really interesting discussions too on the extremely unpredictable future of the St M’s: what really is going to happen to it over the next twenty years…and what can be done about it?

But the highlight of the weekend was the unveiling on the Sunday (Oct 21st) of a specially-made banner.

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The Draycott Craft Club – especially its leading lights, Jackie Knott, Pauline Clarke and Pam Hibell – had created it as a tribute, and it was unveiled by the bishop, who had arrived for the day.  It really is a simply terrific piece of work, outlining the history of the village over the last millennium, and has been beautifully made.  A credit to the makers, it now has pride of place in the church.

Unfortunately the church is kept locked most of the week, although the church is open for services on Sundays, so it can be seen at those times.
For more pictures of the history weekend, click here.

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VVSM gets a hearing

Well done to Jacquie Leach (a VVSM supporter), who made sure that the controversial issues regarding Draycott & Cresswell did not just get swept under the carpet at the recent Moorlands Local Plan inquiry. The inquiry, based in Leek and headed up by a government-appointed inspector, took place over seven days at the beginning of this month.

Jacquie LeachOn the day appointed for discussion about Draycott district, Jacquie (pic, right) was there to speak up and debate the issues with the inspector. Jacquie told us that she felt compelled to give it one last shot.

She stood up and told the inquiry that that our district was in danger of being swamped – with 500 new houses in the pipeline and a large expansion of industry on the way, all of which would lead to a near-doubling of the population (and traffic) over the next ten years. She pointed out that much of the development was contrary to the regional Core Strategy guidelines. For more of how the day went, click here.

Let’s hope the government inspector listened, and gave her arguments full consideration.

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Council tax mess up

We know now how much the new clerk at Draycott village council is to be paid. This was kept under wraps at first (why, who knows?) but it was bound to come out eventually because it has to be mentioned in the monthly accounts, and so it has.
(A council clerk is basically the ‘manager’ of the council’s business and, amongst everything else, also has to deal with all the new government legislation that keeps coming in).
Denise, who was appointed in May and will be part-time (4.5 hours a week), is to be paid £10 an hour, i.e. £200 a month.

Last year there was much discussion at village meetings over the rate of pay & hours for the clerk, (which has not gone up in many years). It’s a responsible, legally-fraught position, but while some felt that a clerk was not worth much more than the national living wage, others felt that the job had become much more demanding and therefore wages should be more in line with what other parish councils do (who pay up to £12 an hour).

person holding black pen wrting 'TAX'

Which leads us to … the council tax mess-up.

At the January meeting of the council, it was decided to go for a very large increase in the parish council’s demand for council tax – a jump of almost 12%… (!!) to cover an increase in pay & hours for the clerk. (It was pointed out at the time that it wasn’t strictly necessary, as there was enough money in the reserves to cover it, but the councillors went ahead anyway).
All over the rest of the country, austerity was still in place and other councils were deliberately trying to keep their council tax down – but Draycott Council went ahead anyway with this massive increase.

And then… the councillors changed their minds about the clerk’s pay-rate.

Again, we’ll never know exactly what happened – because the councillors’ discussion was in secret (why… who knows?) – but a few weeks later, the councillors reverted to offering £10 an hour. The then-clerk Kate Bradshaw resigned in disgust (not just about pay, but a number of matters); so a vacancy had to be announced – but a number of new suitable new candidates walked away when they learned the rate on offer.
Fortunately, eventually, Denise, a very able candidate, came along, and she accepted the rate of pay.

So… why exactly did we have to have the increase in tax foisted upon us???
In the end, the residents of Draycott parish were forced to pay considerably extra in their council tax for something that never happened.

It’s not even the first time that Draycott councillors have put large increases in council tax on us.  Over the last ten years, there have been inflation-busting demands for increases of 9.9% (2007), 11% (2009), 4% (2011), 14% (2012), a staggering 24% (!!) in 2014; 6% (2015); and this year (2018) 11.8%.
Don’t forget that, over this period, inflation was running only at rates between zero to 2.5%…

Roll on the elections next May!  We need new, common-sense, thoughtful representatives to come forward, stand for election and shake Draycott Council up; we really do.

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

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

750th birthday for village church

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

Saving our heritage

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

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

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

Research

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

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

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

Fundraising

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

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

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

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

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History Day Event details

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

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