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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

***
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: 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…

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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!

++
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.

NEWS: GP appts / fresh shelter / badger cull / greyhounds charity

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2018
In this post we have news of…: easier appointments at doctor’s / shelter gets painted! / badger kill starts / Cresswell’s animal sanctuary …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a Draycott History Day…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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More flexibility at the doctor’s – but…

As most of us will know, what is most wearisome about going to the doctor is simply getting the appointment in the first place, especially one that is at a good time for us.
The ‘ratings’ system for the surgery at Tean, where many of us go, shows that one in five patients at it were not really satisfied with what happened when they tried to make an appointment.

Well, in response, the process is changing.
As of this month, if you phone Tean (or its sister surgery at Blythe), you are more likely to get an appointment at a time that suits you (including, if you want it, one at a weekend or evening time – which, up to now, has not been offered).
Erm, yes… but what’s the catch? Well, unfortunately, you might well have to travel to another site – our nearest centre for these additional hours is in Longton.

The new system is being introduced, county-wide, to try to cope with a number of things: the workload on doctors; the difficulty of getting the right appointment; and the fact that some people, working-people especially, can’t make daytime appointments, and prefer evening or weekend times instead.
A spokesman said: “Patients will generally not be seen by their usual doctors or nurses but the clinician who sees them will have access to the patient’s records as long as the patient gives consent.”

So… if you phone your local surgery for an appointment, at least you are now more likely to get a convenient appointment – but it may be in the evening, and you may be offered to go to Longton Cottage Hospital for it…

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Fresh lick of paint

A nice bit of public spirit was shown by Draycott resident Roger Tabbernor when he decided to go out and re-paint the Stuart Avenue bus shelter. It was looking pretty manky and even near-derelict.

Bus shelter

Smart bus shelter. Sadly, little can be done about the discoloured perspex windows

Roger got permission first from the village council to do the work, and it now looks pretty smart.

Roger is a parish councillor himself, so he will be aware that schemes that used to provide funds for village beautification just aren’t there anymore.
For example: the grant from SMDC to pay for work undertaken by a local village ‘lengthsman’ (aka – an odd-jobs person) has now been taken away; and even the council-ward community-grants scheme, which has paid for some neat projects in Draycott in the past, looks like it will disappear due to forthcoming cuts at the county-council.
(The village council though has decided to continue to employ a local litter-picker – but at a cost of a hefty £1,100 a year, ie nearly 12.5 per cent of the council’s whole budget).

So… following Roger’s example, local residents are going to have to start volunteering themselves for minor works if they want things to keep looking nice.

_ _ _
Badgers in cull

As most of us know, there has been a furious argument in recent years about badgers.
Over thirty thousand cattle had to be slaughtered last year in England because they had contracted the cow version of tuberculosis – and farmers say the disease is often passed on to cows by badgers.
The solution, say farmers, is to reduce badger numbers by killing enough of them to thus see the risk reduced.

Badger (pic from Wikipedia)The government is convinced by the argument, and this month, a badger cull started right here in Staffordshire. It’s expected that some 4000 badgers will be killed across the county over the next few months, mostly by shooting.
Some of the ‘cull zones’ are known to be right here in the Moorlands, even though exact locations are not being publicised.

Most of us don’t know what to think about all this, but we are being urged to do something if we spot an injured badger. The Staffordshire Badger Action Group wants you to call them in such a case, and they will try to send someone out to see what has to be done.

In the meantime, we’re told the killing must be left to licensed operatives, and no one should take the law in their own hands. (Ironically, badgers and their setts are still protected under law from the ordinary public….)

_ _ _
Good news for greyhounds

Talking of animals, there’s a great chance this month to hear about a wonderful local sanctuary to save greyhounds that are no longer wanted by their owners. The centre, based in Cresswell and run by volunteers, has expanded since it started up in 1995, and it now takes in goats and rescue ponies as well.Greyhounds, Golden Oldies & Friends logoA lot of people will know Diane Bostock; and she is giving a talk on the work of the organisation (which is actually called ‘Greyhounds & Golden Oldies’) to the Draycott Women’s Institute in a couple of weeks’ time.
If you’re interested, give the WI a call to see if they have space enough to let you attend.

Incidentally, Diane’s talk is just one of dozens of events in and around Draycott over the next two months. You’ll never be stuck for something to do locally!
Check out our events page to see what we mean.

***
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: sporting success / Local Plan inquiry / councillor vacancy / History Day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-Sept 2018
In this post we have news of…: successful summer of sport / vacancy on Draycott Council / Local Plan inquiry to start / Church history day / A50 closed for weekend   …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a WW1 Evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
Sporting summer

By any standards it has been a good summer of sport in Draycott&Cresswell. The cricket club led the way, but there was good news all round for our sportsmen and women.

Blythe Cricket Club’s First XI (based in Cresswell) surprised all the pundits with a hugely impressive first season in the NSCCL top division.
Despite being newly promoted, they ran neck and neck with the leaders right up until the last month, putting up some stunning performances. Even the last day of the season was a nail-biter – being an away match at local rivals Checkley for the honour of securing third place in the league… but captain Peter Finch and his boys overcame that hurdle, to cap a great run.
Well done to them – and there is a bonus, in the fact that the greatly experienced overseas player in the team, Jalat Khan, has settled in so well this season that he’s agreed to rejoin Blythe next year too.

At the Draycott Sports Centre, the men’s tennis side had an average season by their standards, but the actual sports centre itself has gone from strength to strength with the recent opening of a completely refurbished new gym (see pic below).
There are lots of offers on at the moment, so remember – you can now stay fit in comfort even when the weather turns lousy!

Fitness Club spinning bikes

The green-bowls side based in Cresswell (Checkley A), like Blythe CC, finished high up their division, ending the season as runners-up. After an indifferent first half of the summer, they raced through the second half with an amazing six wins from seven… !

Well done to all…

_ _ _
Councillor needed

Even though Councillor Steve Jones only died last month, process grinds on; and already Draycott Council is advertising the vacancy. Seems hard to be so quick at it, but it’s a legal requirement.

However, it’s not so simple as just holding an election.
For community councils like Draycott, an election has ‘to be called’ first, which means that ten people (who must all be on the local electoral register) must sign a document to say that they want an election.

The alternative is that the existing councillors will simply decide among themselves who should fill the spot (this is called ‘co-option’).
Usually ten electors would ‘call’ an election because they don’t trust their current councillors to make an intelligent or an unbiased co-option.

The notice-of-vacancy has now been published (see Draycott PC Website), and the deadline for an election to be ‘called’ is October 1st.

If you’re wondering what the requirements to be a village councillor are, and what the tasks entail, click here

_ _ _
Local Plan

It has now been announced that the formal inquiry into the ‘final’ version of the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan will get underway in the first week of October.
[The ‘Local Plan’ is the framework for what will happen, planning-wise, in this Moorlands region over the next decade and more.]

Members of the Draycott community action-group, VVSM, have applied to address the inquiry, but it all depends on whether they get an invite – and that is in the lap of the gods. (See the article: VVSM hopes…)
They want to protest at the fact that 300 homes are to be built over the next five years in this small area, not to mention that there will be a large escalation of industrial factories. The Local Plan also sets out space for even further development in Draycott!

Our own local Draycott Council did not actually make a response to the final draft of the Local Plan (no one seems to know why!), so there is no chance of a representative from them being invited to speak, despite the massive issues facing our village.
One of the issues that should have been addressed by our council is the odd way that the planners are trying to change the ‘settlement boundaries’ around us. It looks like part of what was within the Draycott Settlement-Area appears to be being shifted into the new Blythe Bridge settlement area. Now, why is that happening?

_ _ _
750 counting down

The celebrations for the 750th anniversary of St Margaret’s Church are hotting up: with the announcement that there is to be a History Day, during which the ways the church has been central to how this village’s growth since the thirteenth century will be outlined.
The event takes place on October 20th.

Draycott tomb ornament

This rose ornament seen here on an ancient tomb in the church was an heirloom worn by the women of the Draycott family down the years

Signed up to lead the day will be our two most prominent local historians – Matthew Pointon (who wrote the definitive book of the history of this area) and Lev Wood, the ‘face’ of the local history society.
We’ll bring you the details as they transpire.

Lev also has hit the limelight in a second way. Everyone who attended the Draycott Fayre this year will have seen his amazing World War One re-enactment complete with trench dug-out.
Well, Lev is also the man who has been credited with re-discovering an amazing, huge canvas on which is painted lots of scenes of battles from the Great War. It was painted by soldiers of the North Staffordshire Regiment, many of whom were recuperating from wounds themselves. It has a sad thrust though – along its base are listed over 900 names of the men’s comrades who had died in the conflict.
Click here for all the details.

This banner was stored away from sight for decades just decaying, but is now somewhat restored, and part of it can be seen in the special WW1 exhibition currently on at the Potteries Museum.
The exhibition is on there until November 11th, and includes other artefacts too, and it really is worth getting along as soon as you can.

_ _ _
Finally … (but not totally finally…)

Don’t forget… the A50 is completely closed – in both directions – from Blythe Bridge roundabout to Uttoxeter from 8pm on Friday 28 September through until 5.30am on Monday 1st October.

A50 stretch

The bridge that stands there at the moment (by the JCB factory) should be fully demolished by the end of the weekend; and the adjacent new bridge finally up and working fully – so you’d think that that would finally be an end of the ‘A50-Growth-Corridor’ roadworks, wouldn’t you?
But, we’re told it won’t be. We can expect more disruption on the Uttoxeter end of the A522 until the end of the year.

***
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: sad deaths / fatal road accident / feisty women / planning matters

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-August 2018
In this post we have news of…: sad deaths / fatal road accident / planning matters / three feisty women   …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a rumba dance workshop…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Despite the pleasant weather during most of the month, here in Draycott-in-the-Moors, August 2018 will be remembered for a number of sad events.

Most people will know now that Steve Jones (pic below) passed away toward the end of the month.
Steve JonesHe was a familiar figure in Cresswell where he would be seen going  out up and down in his wheelchair, often taking his dog with him.
His death came as quite a shock to the community as well as to his family – some of us were even chatting with him cheerfully about his various projects less than a week before he died.

He was active in a number of projects, as people will know; he had also stood successfully for election to the village council in 2015, and became its vice-chairman just a couple of months ago.
The council has now formally published the notice of his death, and you are invited to leave comments and tributes on the notice.
Steve was a committed Roman Catholic, preferring the ‘old ways’ of faith; and he is to be buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s in Cresswell. May he rest in peace.

++
Fatal accident

Nearly all of us will have read about the death of Rebecca Smith and her five year old son. On August 16th, both died in a road accident, which took place around midday more or less outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant, near to where the dual carriageway begins; the other two victims of the accident are still recovering…Draycott Road accident Aug 2018
Rebecca didn’t actually live in Draycott, but was not far from her home, which was in Fenton.

One aspect of the crash that has not been reported as much as it should have been is that a local resident who was on the scene knew enough of CPR to carry out resuscitation techniques.
Well done to them, and it shows how suddenly each and every one of us may be called upon in an emergency, so … learning basic life-saving processes is a must for all of us really.
As to the cause of the crash, the police don’t completely know yet what actually went wrong, and maybe only the inquest can really establish that.

++
Road safety

Of course, many people who live along that stretch of Draycott have been fearing the possibility of a fatal accident there for some time. The death of Rebecca and her son only confirmed those fears.
There have been calls by residents for some time for a traffic refuge to be installed in the centre of the road around where The Golden Keg is.

The incident may even jolt our local village councillors into some positive action. The next round of Staffordshire’s Road Safety Grant Fund is now open for applications; and if our parish council were successful in applying, money could be used to bring the residents on the road there together to create a road-safety plan for that stretch.
We’ll see.

++
Planning matters

At last there is a date for a formal discussion of the way the new roundabout in Cresswell is being designed.
There has been a lot of discussion in our locality about the design, and worries about the effect it would have. See article.

For some strange reason though, although the consultation period was brought to an end in March, we’ve been waiting since then (!) for the matter to be brought before the Staffs Moorlands Planning Committee. A date has now finally been set for the discussion – the 27th September.

Meanwhile, an application to build six new homes in Totmonslow has just been filed. If you want to see and comment on the application, just click here. It will be discussed at our local council’s meeting on Sept 10th.

++
Feisty women!

August 2018 will also be remembered as the month that three feisty women left us.

Joyce Plant who has died aged 77 will only be remembered by older folk one supposes, but she was one of the leaders of the local campaign to build a bypass for Tean & Draycott – which eventually became the A50 dual carriageway, as we know it today.
Joyce, who lived all her life in Tean, believed powerfully that the huge increases in traffic at the time were a threat to safety and to village way of life, and she was constantly speaking in the press. The action group that she was a part of saw their dream come true in 1985, after many years of campaigning.
Some people in Cresswell will also remember her as a formidable figure employed in the admin offices at Blythe Colour Works during the fifties and sixties.

Our other two feisty women are Jacquie Leach and Shelagh Wood – both of whom (thankfully!) have not died – but have moved home out of this area. Jacquie and Shelagh were, like Joyce, known for the energetic and tireless campaigns they led for what they believed to be right. You can see a tribute to them by clicking here.

Wildlife Board unveiled

Jacquie Leach (left) present as Cllr Mark Deaville (right) unveils the Cresswell Wildlife Panel – one of Shelagh & Jacquie’s projects

It is interesting to think that – in this 100-year anniversary of females getting the vote – we are mentioning how local life was so much improved … by three women! The suffragettes would have been proud of them.

Right now, we seem to have a huge gap in our village life. As one looks around, there are almost no people showing the leadership & commitment & belief that these three did.
However, there are village council elections next year – so let’s hope we see some similarly energetic figures coming to the fore then.
We need them.

***
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: fayre surprises / new lighting / priest goodbye / Sir Bill

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-August 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott Fayre summary / new Church lighting / farewell to Catholic priest / is Sir Bill distracted?  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a bank holiday food festival…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Fayre surprise

The organisers of the Draycott Summer Fayre have learnt to expect the unexpected (remember the year the field was sodden with torrential rain?) but even they were taken by surprise this year.

It was a boiling hot day, the list of events was as long as your arm… all was set fair.
Then the cancellations started coming in: the funfair, the quad bikes, the ferrets-show, the bouncy-castle, the fire engine, some of the stall-holders. These last-minute cancellations knocked out a lot of kids’ fun stuff.
Plus… one of the chief organisers fell suddenly seriously ill on the day, causing real concern.

But, basically – and it’s not often you say this about a British summer day! – it was simply too hot. Numbers at the gate were down, and a lot of parents took their kids home early to avoid sunburn. (This was a double-shame because very few were there for the highlight of the day, the medieval knights’ battle).

However, for those who braved the sun, it really was a relaxing day… picnics for all!
The Punch & Judy went down a storm; the Fayre bar did a good trade (of course!); and the Reptile stand was a huge attraction. You can see photos of the day by clicking here, and here, with a few others below.

 

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One stand must get special mention: the World War One dug-out re-construction.
Local historian Levison Wood was dressed up as an infantry captain of the time, and was over-heating in his heavy uniform as he gave his talks – but he never took off anything, not even the jacket, “out of respect” he said. You have to give him lots of credit for that.

In the end, £3000 was raised. Not nearly as much as in recent years, but still a valuable contribution to the upkeep of St Margaret’s, our village’s medieval church.
Congratulations must go to John Clarke and his team. When you think that the fayre, as big an event as it is, is put together by volunteers only, it’s quite a feat.

– – –
Church improvements

John Clarke, as we have just said, is a man who likes to keep busy, and he often has more than one project on at any one time.

For over two years now he and Bill Ward have been working on a scheme to install lighting on the paths around St Margaret’s Church. These are just dirt paths, so are a bit of a hazard, especially on dark winter days. It’s reported that, one year, someone actually fell into a grave when they couldn’t see where they were going… St Margaret's Church lighting posts lighting south side
They look pretty good (see above) but the scheme has proved incredibly expensive, nearly £10,000. If you intend any work in the vicinity of a Grade 2* listed building, it doesn’t come cheap – even getting the necessary permissions was a long, drawn-out process.
Thank goodness for local people’s goodwill: the funds were eventually raised through a combination of donations, fund-raising and grants, as well as work done by those who gave their labour & skills for free.
And, it’s now (mostly) done. To save energy, the lights are programmed to go on and off at set times depending on the time of year.

You can take a virtual walk along the paths and see the posts in more detail with this video.

– – –
Farewell Pawel

Talking of churches, a number of residents took their chance at the Cresswell St Mary’s hog-roast last week to say their goodbyes to Father Pawel Przybyszewski (on right in pic below), one of the priests who looks after the combined parish.
He hasn’t been with us long, but he’s already heading back to his native Poland.
If you missed the hog-roast, there’s another opportunity to say your farewells at a special barbeque next week.
Fathers Kaz and Pawel
The other priest of the parish, Father Kazimierz Stefek (Kaz to his friends!) is staying on however.
Father Kaz is leading a refurbishment of St Mary’s, with a complete re-painting of the interior and repairs to the decoration.
He’s also fascinated by the church’s history, as you’ll see if you visit: hanging on the walls now are lots of tributes to the history of the last 500 years of Catholicism in Cresswell.

– – –
Brexit bother

We try not to mention Brexit on this website (!), but we saw an article in the papers recently about how a few MPs – those on the extremes of the debate -, are spending so much time on the issue, they are just not able to give as much time to their constituencies.
Can this explain why we see so little of our own MP Bill Cash?

Sir Bill CashSir Bill (pic right) has been a fierce opponent of EU membership since forever and was deeply involved with the Leave campaign. He says: “Brexit is ultimately about our democracy, our sovereignty and our self-government. All the other issues, including our right to free trade with the rest of the world, are subsidiary.”

However, is his time-consuming involvement with Brexit leading him to have to do less work in this constituency? Unlike his fellow Conservative, Karen Bradley in next door Leek (and Karen is a minister too, don’t forget), we rarely see him at public events in this area or even doing local surgeries. He has only been up here for surgeries four times in all this year.
(To be fair to Sir Bill, he has spoken in Parliament about one big local issue this year, the HS2 route).

So… what do you think? Is Brexit so important that Sir Bill would be right to put so much of his energies into it … or does he need to take back some of that time to spend on pressing constituency matters?
It would be interesting to hear what you think. Use the comments box below.

***
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

Planning; planning; no-plan

We have updates about: the Blythe Vale site at eastern Draycott; the coming roundabout in Cresswell and its nearby pinch-point; a completely new application for housing in Cresswell; and the death of the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan.

Some developers are very clever… They go into a flurry of activity in the summer months, knowing that potential protesters are busy with holidays etc and that August is often a month-off for councillors and MPs.
So…. yep… lots about planning in this post!

Blythe Vale

The proposed housing estate up on the ridge, which will overlook Uttoxeter Road on Draycott Level, is a done deal and will happen, so all that’s left now is to sort out the infrastructure – the roadways, drainage etc.
Sure enough, an infrastructure application has now been submitted at SMDC’s planning offices. It seems that the roadway coming down off the ridge will emerge near the Chandni Cottage restaurant, onto that bit of dual carriageway. The developers (naturally enough) reckon it won’t affect traffic flow.

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

The Blythe Vale site – the current Draycott development is the red-ringed site on left

Conservationists will also be interested to see how the developers St Modwen) have proposed handling the newts and other wildlife on the site; and which trees they intend to remove.

If you have thoughts, you are invited to put them in, using the online comments page. You have until the 15th August.

Preliminary work on the site – surveying etc – starts this weekend.

– – –
Cresswell roundabout

The plans for the roundabout at Cresswell seem to have hit an unknown buffer. They were supposed to go before the SMDC Planning Committee as long ago as Easter, but they keep being deferred – and no one really knows why.
One of our district councillors, Dave Trigger, gave a little talk a few weeks ago about the pros & cons of the roundabout plan, and he said he could see no particular problem with it (click here to see what Dave said) – so what’s holding the plan up?

One rumour is that the developers have not yet come up with a suitable way to help out the bat population that will be disturbed.
Another rumour is that the issue is the so-called pinch point (where the road narrows to a tight squeeze) up the hill past the Izaak. The original 2015 application promised that a pedestrian path would be installed here, but we’ve heard nothing since.
Yes, the owners of Izaak Walton Farm have now moved their wall back from the edge of the road (thus enabling a small green path alongside it for pedestrians), but, even so, a few yards of the road further up still have no pavement.

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Maybe this is the sticking point…?

– – –
Houses by the railway?

The summer has produced its usual crop of planning applications – including one for eight houses at Cresswell.
If you know Cresswell, you’ll know the unmade road off Cresswell Old Lane that leads up to some old Victorian terraced houses (called Railway Cottages). The proposed houses would be built along this unmade lane, with the railway at their backs.

The fact is that the current Moorlands Local Plan does stipulate that Draycott & Cresswell should take another ten houses on top of the Blythe Vale and Blythe Park developments – so this application would indeed fit Local Plan requirements.
(It had been supposed that the required extra houses would eventually be built on the big field on Uttoxeter Road – the one between the church and the Draycott Arms -, but maybe not, after all).

But… there is no barrier stopping the public from going on to the line at that point.  Is this really a safe place to build homes?
If you have thoughts on this application you have until 22nd August to submit them (see the application Comments Page).

– – –
Neighbourhood Plan, not…

Our local community council, Draycott Parish Council, doesn’t inspire confidence at the best of times but it reached a new low with the collapse of its ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ process.

The government has been encouraging villages and small communities to adopt ‘neighbourhood plans’ as a way of indicating how they want their futures to be. They carry some weight in law, and it’s one way to help stop inappropriate developments.
Parish councils are responsible for watching over their adoption process.

Back in 2015, the newly-elected Draycott councillor, Jacquie Leach, put some work & effort into kick-starting an NP for Draycott on the council’s behalf (though she stepped down from the council in 2016 due to personal issues and so did not finish the work).
Since then however Draycott Council has seemed barely interested.

The council applied for a grant of £3000 last year, but the money had to be returned a few months ago – because not one penny of it had been spent…!
Just as embarrassingly, the council recently announced on its website that it would be holding a Neighbourhood Plan roadshow-stall at this year’s Draycott Fayre – but no such thing appeared.
When councillors were asked what happened – blank faces! It turned out that they had forgotten to get someone to organise it; and that none of the councillors had been particularly appointed to be responsible anyway.

(Roll on the 2019 local elections…!)

checkley neighbourhood plan poster
The worst of this is that, more than any other community in the Moorlands, Draycott has been subject to one planning development after another, and really needs the safeguards that a Neighbourhood Plan can provide.
Meanwhile other nearby councils – such as Checkley & Tean (see above pic) and Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge – are cracking on with theirs, leaving Draycott far behind.

***
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