Climate-change concerns

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

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

Click here to read Climate change, flooding and Cresswell

Field (Sandon Close in background)

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

Climate change speeding up

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

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

The future of this website

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

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

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

Future

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

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

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

In the meantime… have a happy 2020…!

NEWS of: broadband / roadworks / festive lights

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

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Roadworks information – very puzzling

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

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

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

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Lighting up time

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

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

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Spread the broadband spread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Candidates’ lack of interest

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

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

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

person dropping paper on box

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

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

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

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St Modwen do a Saint Nick

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

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors – before….

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

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

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

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More squash

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

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

draycott sports centre sign

Draycott Sports Centre

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

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A colourful date

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

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

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

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

NEWS: roadworks / hustings / chimes / knitted angels

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

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

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Roadworks dates

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

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

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

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Seen a candidate?

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

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

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

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

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

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Christmas is coming

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

For more details and for patterns, contact Chrissi.

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“Christmas bells, Christmas bells…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General election 2019

Yet another election is upon us – o joy…!
Seriously though (!), this one is even more important than most, so we’re giving you a whole page here about the technicalities and the personnel.

Scroll down for info on: how to vote; the constituency we are in; the candidates; and the candidates’ statements.

Voting

The deadlines for the various voting options (including voting by post) are all listed here.

For the rest of us, we should go to cast our vote at Draycott Church Hall, which will be open to voters between 7am and 10pm on the day. Parking is available (but watch out for those potholes in the lane!!)

Constituency

We (Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow) are all in Stone Constituency, which is one of the biggest and most weirdly shaped in England.  It looks a bit like a hump-backed camel!  It stretches from the other side of Newcastle to Stone and to Cheadle, and to us of course. In fact, Draycott is at the north-eastern tip of the constituency. It’s a semi-rural constituency.

stone constituency - draycott parish area

Draycott is in the north-eastern tip of Stone constituency

A few links for you:
The BBC has kindly set up a page for us which will update on us on any significant news about the Stone constituency. As you can see from this BBC page, national politics doesn’t much impinge on our constituency (!), but the page is worth keeping an eye on.
The independent ‘hyper-local’ news website for our region ‘A Little Bit Of Stone’ has also set up a Stone Election updates page.
If you want to know the exact boundaries of the constituency, the Ordnance Survey Electoral Map is pretty good…

Candidates

The nominations deadline was last week, so we know now that the constituency will be contested by: the Conservatives, the Greens, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  No Brexit Party though, even though UKIP stood last time around.
You’ll find the candidates’ full names, their seconders and their addresses on the official government page.

One immediately interesting fact about the candidates is that only two of the four (the Green and the Lib Dem) actually live in the constituency. The Conservative lives in Shropshire and the Labour in Stoke.

Candidates’ stances

We had hoped by now to find an election statement from our candidates on their parties’ websites, but, at the time of writing (Nov 27th), only the Lib Dem had put up a full statement.
Anyway, here are their pages (keep checking them if you want to see a statement, eventually):
Conservatives for Stone (candidate Bill Cash)
Greens for Stone (candidate Tom Adamson)
Labour for Stone (candidate Mike Stubbs)
Lib Dems for Stone (candidate Alec Sandiford)

So we must rely on the local press for interviews and for setting up ‘hustings’. Thank goodness for the press!

The local online news-website A Little Bit of Stone has an online-only hustings event on their Facebook site on the evening of Wed December 3rd (between 7pm and 9pm).
The Eccleshall Today website has an in-person hustings at the Royal Oak pub in Eccleshall on Thursday 28th Dec – though the Conservative candidate declined to appear.

The local online news-website A Little Bit of Stone has done interviews with all four candidates:  Conservative candidate Bill Cash ; Green candidate Tom Adamson ; Labour candidate Mike Stubbs ; and Lib Dem candidate Alec Sandiford.
And the Leek Post & Times Weekly is interviewing the candidates, one each week. They started with the Lib Dem candidate Alec Sandiford on Nov 20th, so it’s worth going along to your library to see the back-copies if you haven’t read them already.

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Please email us if you have suggestions about how best Draycott people can keep up with the election

NEWS: floods / houses for sale / voting / poppies

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks progress / teas anyone? / graves appear at St M’s! / new saint’s connection (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including two fireworks displays …  Check out the Events page)

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

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Fancy a garnet?

As we reported before, sales are already underway for the houses on the coming St Modwen housing estate, which is being built at the west end of Draycott.
The sales brochure too is now published with a street-map of how the estate is to be arranged and where each type of house is going. The cheapest housing will be sited alongside on the estate’s border with the A50 highway, with the more expensive on the Draycott Level side.

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The brochure also lists (nearly) all the types of houses that will be available on ‘Blythe Fields’. A ‘Garnet’ style house is the most expensive at £360,000.
Curiously, the only kind of housing that is not advertised for sale in the brochure is the low-income housing; nor does the brochure tell you how to apply for that housing.
Curious… Hmm.

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Torrents lead to floods

The torrential and unceasing rain a few days ago led, as you’d expect, to flash floods pretty much everywhere, including here. Zara Hutson, who co-runs the Draycott Arms, captured this amazing shot (below) when the flooding was at its height on Cheadle Road just outside her doors. Flash flooding Cheadle Road draycott
Most of it was, fortunately, just flash flooding, and receded quickly once the rain ceased, but we still have well-known problem areas which have more long-lasting flooding.
The drains on certain stretches of Uttoxeter Road, right through Draycott to Tean, are simply no longer coping well, and water lies in dangerous pools on these busy roads after heavy rain.

It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you are on (– is the Staffs County Highways Department incompetent? …or… is the government starving local authorities of money, which is why repairs are so slow? -), the fact is we’ve been waiting years now for some of the drainage systems to be sorted.
Sadly, no one should hold their breath that it will all be fixed soon.

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Happy days … another election!

… yes, we are being sarcastic of course.
However, this one really is a biggie, there’s no doubt about that, and will (if we get a definite result) change this country for the next five years.
We are in the constituency of Stone.

So… if you are not registered to vote, get yourself sorted now. Already, across the country, thousands of people (mostly younger people) have been doing just that – and you still have time. The cut-off date to register (to vote in the election in December) is November 26th.
Click here to find out the process. It’s pretty simple.

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Poppies for remembrance

Some people on the village Facebook page were puzzled – but pleased – to see a lot of poppies attached to lampposts in the village, and wondered who had put them there.
It’s actually pretty straightforward – they were put up by order of the Draycott village council, and congratulations should go to the council’s clerk, Denise Wheat, for organising the distribution.
Cresswell Poppy display 2019The poppies are to mark Armistice Day of course, which falls on November 11th (Monday) – though the main ceremonies will be carried out on Remembrance Sunday (which is on Nov 10th this year) – see our events page for details of what’s happening.

Last year many village councils adopted this neighbourhood poppy display as a one-off initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, but our council has decided to do it again this year.

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DIY for £300,000

Ever fancied buying a charming old property and completing doing it up? Now’s your chance if you have £300,000 or so.
That’s the asking price for Totmonslow Farm Cottage (see pic below), which is on the market at the moment and being sold by Kevin Ford Estate AgentsTotmonslow Farm Cottage
It’s smaller than it looks (2 bedrooms) and needs some renovation – but the Totmonslow rural area is still a great place to live.
We’re off to buy a lottery ticket…!

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

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

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

NEWS: traffic flow / tea club? / ‘new’ graves / saintly connection

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid October 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks progress / teas anyone? / graves appear at St M’s! / new saint’s connection (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a fireworks display …  Check out the Events page)

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

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Settling down (?)

Well, ten days into the St Modwen Roadworks project, things are settling down, and, if they continue like this, matters may work out better for everyone than we had hoped for.
Only the one lane through the works is to be available at any one time, but, with patience, it might work.

What we’ve seen is that, as the ‘outgoing lane’ (i.e. the one on the way to the roundabout) is the open one at the moment, traffic is moving relatively smoothly.

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(It might not be so good though when Phase Two arrives in mid-December – which is when the open lane will be the eastbound one, ie for incoming traffic, not outgoing).

It seems like all the publicity that we as a community have generated (the local newspaper has had the roadworks as its lead story three weeks in a row!) has made a huge difference. Motorists are clearly avoiding Draycott Level, and so the general flow of traffic is lighter at the moment, which is a big help.
People we know are also getting up earlier to go to work, and using diversions, which is all sensible.

However, St Modwen/Staffordshire Highways say the open lane could be “closed at any time” if circumstances require it.  It is a bit of a shame that they can’t promise to give full notice about which lane (incoming or outgoing) is going to be free at any one time – and we would urge them to think how they can do that better.

In general though, if everyone crosses fingers for the next four months, we might be okay.
Might...

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Tearoom group

The new HideOut Tearooms in Forsbrook, which are attached to the Roebuck pub, are now up and running, and the owners have come up with a really nice opening offer: if there is a community group that wants to put on tea&sandwiches sessions for elderly residents, the tearooms will supply the food gratis.

There are already ‘friendship groups’ in Blythe, organised through HomeLink or at the village hall, but this would be the first in Forsbrook (we believe) if it comes off.

No such venture exists in Draycott/Cresswell – even though we have some suitable venues, including the church hall and the new refurbished snug at the Arms, and even the under-used ‘community hub’ at the Cresswell cricket ground.

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Churchyard revelations

Some cutting-back has recently taken place in the ‘old churchyard’ at St Margaret’s – and graves that have not been seen for years have been revealed.

Whoever did it (probably pruning experts from the diocesan authorities, but no one seems sure) has cut a man-sized hole through the foliage of the giant yew-tree in the churchyard’s south-west corner. (The yew is reputed to be around one thousand years old!).
This hole enables a person to get right inside the branches & foliage towards the main trunk; and see the graves there that had been grown over.

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Almost nineteen old graves have been newly revealed.
Inevitably, there is a Bagnall there, as Bagnall has been such a common name down the years in this district, but there is also a Weston. Family historians will be pleased to see them.
They have been covered over so long that it’s not clear if they are on the official graves-list, which was drawn up in the 1980s.
It all adds to the account of Draycott’s history, and it’s good to be able to see these stones again.

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Cresswell and Saint Henry Newman

Talking of local churches, not many people will know that Cresswell St Mary’s has a slight relevance to the news that Britain has a new saint.
Last Sunday, the Pope said that, after a deal of research, it was now believed that the nineteenth century English cardinal, Henry Newman, was holy enough during his life to now be declared a saint.

Dominic BarberiIt’s interesting though that the priest who converted Newman to Catholicism was a Father Dominic Barberi (pic right), who lived in Cresswell for a while during 1844.
The former priest at Cresswell, David Hartley (who has since moved on) wrote an account of Barberi’s achievements for this village website. If you want to know more of that story, click here.

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Roadworks decision

Finally common sense has prevailed on the current Draycott A521 Roadworks Project being conducted by St Modwen Homes.

At the very last minute, St Modwen has “found a way” to compromise, and we now have a partial solution to the roadworks issue. It will not totally satisfy all, but it is a halfway-house.

There won’t be a contraflow, which the community would have liked best, but the time-frame (nineteen weeks) also means that St Modwen can still just-about open its housing estate there on time.

Intervention

On the original plan, there was to be no way to the A50 roundabout in or out of Draycott.
It took a last-minute intervention by Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, to make the difference. It looks like he banged a few heads together, and we now have the compromise.

So… at “most times” there will be one lane open through the roadworks, either going out of Draycott, or coming in. But no contraflow.
Instead of ten weeks for the project time-frame, as St Modwen hoped for, it will be extended by a further two months, so – in theory – it should be all done and dusted by the end of February.

A dedicated webpage has been created to keep us immediately up to date (in theory) with any changes on the works site, and alerting us as to which direction the ‘free’ lane will be using in each week.

Yes, this compromise will not suit everyone, and we too think that there were more intelligent solutions, but… at least we got some result.

People power

For once, we can see that social media has been a power for good.
Although the roadworks plan was announced in late July, our respective village councils were slow to react, and even sat on their hands.

So it was left to the people. It took a strong popular response, especially from village websites like this one and from the two community Facebook groups (Draycott and Blythe Bridge), to get the debate up and running.
This strong response forced Staffordshire Highways/St Modwen to back off, and they postponed the original start-date (which had been Sept 7th). As we know, it was then postponed a few more times, until this final start-date of October 8th.

However, we also have to thank the two county councillors – Mark Deaville (for the Draycott end) and Keith Flunder (for the Blythe Bridge end) who, alerted to the strength of local concerns, now both waded in to the conflict.
We suspect it was pressure from these two that brought Philip Atkins into the issue – and he had the power to force a re-think from St Modwen…

(St Modwen’s engineers had said it was impossible to keep a lane free because the included drainage works under the road would mean the whole width of the road would be being used all the time.
Now they have come up with a solution.
Curious, that…).

Let’s hope that, even though it’s a compromise, it all works out…

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NEWS: buses / roads-meeting / planters! / cricket drop

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses – but not for us / roadworks press on regardless / one man’s flower campaign / cricket gloom
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Draycott Neighbourhood Plan workshop …  Check out the Events page)

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For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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St Mods press on

The ‘information-day’ that St Modwen Homes and Staffs County Highways put together yesterday to explain the forthcoming roadworks was fairly unsatisfactory all round.
Instead of using the big room at Blythe Village Hall, the organisers funnelled people in and out of the back-room (where basically you can’t hold more than a dozen people comfortably) so it was very crowded at times; it was a poor effort frankly, and most reaction was, unsurprisingly, negative.
It was pretty difficult to get close to one of the officers, let alone hear what they were saying, but the gist of it was that the roadworks would go ahead come what may.
When it came to how Blythe Bridge & Draycott would cope with the potential gridlock, it seemed few of the questions we posed had ready answers.

A521 closure plans (2) Sept 2019

No way through to the A50 – for ten weeks

So … all we can hope is that the huge publicity that we as residents have generated (well done to us!) will have alerted a lot of motorists to the problem; and so those motorists will already be looking for alternative routes. Let’s hope so.
Good luck to everyone – the roadworks start on Monday (Oct 7th)!

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Bright array

If a motorist does get stuck in the roadworks jam, at least they will have a bright sight to look at.
New roadside planters, put up by local volunteer Lee Warburton, have been a real success.
The colourful flower arrangements in the containers have been dazzling on sunny days (…Draycott Plant Nurseries provided the displays).

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The whole project has been put together by Lee, who decided that Draycott Level, from the A50 to the Arms, just needed a little love (!).
He himself constructed the planters (more than half-a-dozen so far along the stretch), using a grant from the local ‘Draycott Community Solar Array Fund’ to pay for materials; got approval from the village council; and then got the official permissions from Highways to site them.The project is far from over – more planters are to come -, but with autumn setting in, we won’t see the best of of the scheme for another six months.
But then we expect Draycott Level to be bursting with colour again…!

It just shows what one volunteer can do with a little bit of good-will and determination. We owe Lee some thanks…

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No buses … and new buses

If a Draycott Council plan had come off, a bus service would have been running through Draycott-Cresswell by now.
Sadly, the plan has fallen apart, mostly because of legal issues.
However, it was a brave attempt and the council should be congratulated for having a go at least.

But … if you can get yourself to Tean or Cheadle or Blythe, there are some new services to try out.
Stantons have just started a twice-daily (Mon-Fri) ‘INR’ Cheadle-Hanley route which goes via Blythe.
D&G Buses have also just started a 32 service which goes Tean-Hanley via Cheadle.
Confusingly, First Potteries Buses also ran a 32 service, so that is now being renamed the ‘Kingfisher’ (!) service ; it runs Hanley-Uttoxeter via Tean and Blythe.
Meanwhile the long-established First Potteries 6A, which plies the Blythe-Hanley route, continues but some early-morning trips are now cancelled.
… the actual nearest working bus-stop to us is at Blythe Village Hall – and that serves the First Potteries 6A.
But, despite all that – still no buses through Draycott!

So, our recommendation is: if you are having difficulties, use the Moorlands Voluntary Transport scheme. Their local volunteer, Brian Blackwood, will pick you up and take you where you want to go, even as far as Stoke Hospital – and for around half what a normal taxi would cost you. You have to register, but, if you have no transport, it’s a real boon.

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Cricketing gloom

It was a sad day at Blythe CC’s ground in Cresswell two weeks ago when the First XI played their last match of the season. Having had two successful seasons in the NSCCL Premier Division, this third season’s results had been grim, dooming them to relegation.
Such is the spirit of deflation at the club, even their Facebook page has fallen silent.

But the gloom will not last long we are pretty sure. Already a professional has been signed for next season, and there is a lot else to be proud of at the club, including the junior teams.

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

Blythe Cricket Club’s ‘Community Hub’ (aka the pavilion)

Personally, we’d also like to see more publicity about the ground’s ‘Community Hub’ (which you barely hear much of these days), as more use of it would keep Cresswell buzzing in the winter months.

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