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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…?

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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).

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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

Place of sporting excellence

What an outdoors-y summer it has been! There has been no excuse at all not to get out and enjoy the weather … and our local sports facilities are certainly benefiting.
In fact, Draycott & Cresswell is now a centre for sporting excellence in many ways…

Best coaches and best support

If you want proof of just how well-regarded our local sport is in the rest of the region, look no further than the latest crop of awards.

At the Staffordshire Moorlands 2018 Sports Awards, around half of the accolades went to folk based here in this village!

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Sports Team of the Year went to Blythe Cricket Club’s 1st XI, who won the NSSCL First Division title with more wins in a season than any in the league’s history.
The Sport Across Staffordshire (SAS) Volunteer of the Year was Angie Heathcote, who has been the managing hand in Blythe Cricket Club’s financial success.
And Sports Coach of the Year went to Tara Burndred of the Tatsu Dojo Club in Cresswell.

Meanwhile congratulations are also in order to Mike Heath at Draycott Tennis Centre; he won the ‘Tennis Staffordshire’ Volunteer of the Year Award (which is part of the national British Tennis Awards).

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only are our people among the best, so are the facilities.

Upgrades

As we all know ‘Draycott Racquet & Fitness Club’ – to give it its full title – offers tennis, indoor-tennis, squash, badminton, and gym. Classes on site include spinning.

In the last few years, they’ve refurbished the gym and squash areas but now they’re pushing on further – by investing over £20,000 into new equipment. Yes, on their way (as we speak) are eight new Impulse Machines, two New Star Trac Treadmills and additional free-weights. Lockers will also be installed.
Work is ongoing, but should be finished by the end of this month. Why not go along and check it out then for yourself?

Surely it’s that forward-looking attitude that has helped the club to produce its first world-ranked tennis player – Elliott Farmer .
Elliott achieved his world ranking in doubles earlier this year when he competed in the Tunisia F18 Doubles – reaching the semi-finals, which means he is now world-ranked. Congrats to him!
Elliott has been training for over 10 years now at Draycott (with his main coach here being Craig Leese). He is now also constantly travelling the world trying to achieve a world ranking in singles too. (Fortunately he has great sponsors – including the South Cheshire-based ABC Solutions company).

So… Draycott – a great place for high-class tennis.
And if you want to see some matches (almost as good as Wimbledon !), and see them for free, head down to the three-day long annual Draycott Open Tournament, which starts on August 5th.

Shiny new nets

Now, everyone pretty much knows the success story that has been the Cresswell-based Blythe Cricket Club over the past two years.
Not only did the club successfully bid for (and build) a new pavilion, costing some half-million pounds, but the first team achieved promotion to the NSSCL Premier Division in 2017, and this season are even challenging strongly for the championship.

But, again, success is built on great volunteers and by improving facilities. The most recent improvement has been the new nets, which replace the rather outdated old ones.

Not mentioned as often as it should be is the fact also that the club runs youngsters’ teams, with even an under-8’s team on the roster. There has been no women’s team since the last one folded in 2014, but (we’re told) the club has not stopped looking for a way to re-start it.

Bowling-yellow

However, one club that has had a slightly more difficult year than other local ones is the CP Outdoor Bowls Club, which is based on Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

A major distraction has been the future of the business park itself, which will be transformed over the next year with the development of extra infrastructure and industrial units & factories.
However, it does now look as though the bowling green is safe; and the club will continue.

The surface of the club’s green has of course been an issue this summer; three months of hot dry weather have taken their toll. What was a bowling-green is currently a bowling-yellow! (see pic below)Cresswell bowling green summer 2018
But long-time secretary Sue Stepek is stressing the advantages of playing this beautiful game to all who are thinking of an outdoor pursuit.
She says: “New members are always welcome. Newbies will have opportunities to play at most levels. But, if they just want to play for fun, ‘club afternoons’ take place every Thursday through the season (from about 2.00pm). Please contact 01782 396785 – and I’ll make sure someone is around to welcome you!”

Great place to stay sporty

And we haven’t mentioned all the fitness activities in the village we could have – there are keep-fit classes at the dance studios in Cresswell for instance as well – but space is against us…

But, when you think about all that’s here… then, how lucky are we????

NEWS: action-man John / buses future / Arms expansion / new council clerk / race trial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Volunteer of The Year / buses survey / b&b business coming? / welcome to Denise / race case shame …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  live-music from local lad Matty Edwards…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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John’s busy time

John ClarkeA big thank you to everyone who voted for Draycott’s own John Clarke (right) in the Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Awards.  The result was announced at a special ceremony in Leek and our John came an honourable joint second. It’s all based on a public vote, so second is a very good result for someone from a small village such as ours.
As John said, it’s a time of great flux for our neighbourhood, so anything that gets a positive headline for Draycott has got to be a good thing.

Right now though John is hugely busy putting the finishing touches to the preparations for this year’s Draycott Fayre Weekend (on July 7th & 8th). He is chief organiser (and bottle washer!) for the fayre.
Plenty of late bookings are still being arranged, with the most fascinating one being the promise of the sight of a reconstructed World War One trench dug-out (see below)!

WW1 dug out re-construction
It’s being created by the secretary of the local history society; and for anyone interested in the conflict of the 1914-18 War it will be a big draw.

Do keep checking the updates to the line-up, because – as we say – lots and lots of stuff keeps being added on… and you won’t want to miss out on anything…

One thing you can do to help is put up the official poster in your window or business – just click here to access the 2018 FAYRE Poster , and then just print it off and put it where you think people will see it. Cheers!!

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Buses survey

As we reported last month, there was a brief glimmer of hope that the number 12 bus route, which runs through Draycott & Cresswell, might be restored after it was cancelled in March. However even that small hope has now been dashed, as the county council has now definitively refused to continue the subsidy for it.

Some Staffordshire local/parish councils have stepped into the breach and stumped up money to keep their village bus services running, but it’s an expensive option. The other question is: how many people would use the bus even if it was brought back?

The district’s local newspaper, the Cheadle & Tean Times, is now running a survey on the issue, basically asking “would you use a bus service if there was one?” If it’s something that worries you, it’s worth completing the survey, which is on page six of the current issue.

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Arms expansion

While sifting among recent planning applications, we saw that Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms are continuing their plans for the pub by putting up proposals for a few bed-and-breakfast rooms.  It certainly would be great to have such accommodation in the heart of the village, as the nearest alternatives are just out of walking distance.

However, Zara & Brayn, just like John, might be a bit too busy over the next seven days to worry about that side of their business. Next weekend (Sat 7th July) they are the hosts of the Draycott Saturday Night Live In the Marquee event, when they will be putting on a mini beer & cider festival to accompany the live music on stage.

Hassell St Jive Candy

Hassell St Jive Candy are the headliners at Draycott Saturday Night Live

Looking forward to that!!

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Shame

Draycott hit the national headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when one local resident here in Draycott was convicted of inciting race hatred in views she expressed on her website.  Barbara Fielding-Morriss, who is 79 years old, describes herself as ‘white supremacist’, a despiser of Jews and a fascistic supporter of Hitler. She faces a possible seven years in prison when she is sentenced next month.
She chose not to have legal representation during the trial, which the judge was very surprised at.

Fortunately, it seems Barbara is almost a lone voice and has very few members in her ‘party’. But it does all leave a very bad taste in the mouth.

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The Draycott Council bit

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

After all the confusion and upset over the last couple of months, a new clerk to the council is finally in place.

The very popular former clerk felt compelled to resign in March saying she felt under-valued by councillors and harassed.
A confusing period followed, in which one new appointee came in and then absented herself, followed by a rather flawed advertising process, and – finally – a further appointment was made.

Amazingly, this rather messy performance has ended up with a good candidate.  Denise Wheat is well known in Tean (the next village along from us) for being a leading light in community projects there and is an established business-woman (she runs her own photography concern).

Denise is already taking courses in the responsibilities and functions expected of a clerk to a village council. Although clerks are not elected so they can’t make policy decisions, they are expected to ‘manage’ the council’s actions and procedures.

Denise has a difficult job on her hands, not just with guiding the current councillors, but in responding to the government’s calls that village/community councils be more active and more transparent. What’s more, there are elections to the council in less than twelve months!
Good luck to her.

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

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

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Boyz doing good

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

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

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

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

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County Council gives money back to public – shock

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

mark deaville

Mark Deaville

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

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

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Stunner enters 21st century

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

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

– – –
GOSH!

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

Draycott Arms - Brayn and Zara

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

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

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Make some money

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

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

Draycott Fayre 2016 - ice cream

Draycott Fayre (2016)

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

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

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

– – –
Voting time

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

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

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

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

– – –
King of potholes

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

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“New village” for Draycott

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

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

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

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

– – –
Historic site sold

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

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

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What’s up at Draycott Council?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draycott Summer Fayre 2018

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

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

Historia Normannis

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

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

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

The line-up for the music is:
…the Woodstrings duo, performing songs by The Rolling Stones, Ocean Colour Scene, INXS, Stereophonics, The Strokes and more
….one of the bands returning from last year, Bear Withers who describe themselves as a “seamless blend of popular covers and bad jokes”!

Hassell St Jive Candy
… and a seventeen piece swing band, Hassell Street Jive Candy (pic above) who will really end the night on a dance-crazy high! Check out their videos for proof
… the compere & DJ will be Andy Bird.

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

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

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

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

Draycott Fayre 2016 - vintage vehicle in the car rally

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

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

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

But there is always something new to see…  in the paddock this year all afternoon, you’ll find the donkey rides. The Happy Donkey Company is a local business, and we welcome them for the first time to Draycott.
Staffordshire Fire Service were also eager to get involved, and will be sending along a fire-tender, and answering questions about their work. The organisation was particularly impressed that our fayre permits free entry to all school-age children, as good fire safety starts when children start to learn it as youngsters.

Really fascinating for history enthusiasts this year though will be a remarkable and special display run by Levison Wood, the chairperson of our local district history society. To remember one hundred years since the end of World War One, he and his wife are re-creating a section of a WW1 trench, remembering the events of a century ago, and celebrating the local soldiers who took part.

Snake at Fayre

Remember these? The reptiles are back this year…

It’s marvellous to be able to say that many local people will be running sales-stalls too, selling everything from ice-cream to plants. Local community groups will be hosting information stands (and probably selling a little jam on the side…).
For those interested in the future of the village, the Neighbourhood Plan committee has taken a ‘roadshow’ stall on the day, and will be happy to discuss current progress of the project with residents.
You can register your tug-of-war team (it’s just a fun event, folks, not for professionals!) on the day with the compere, but it would be helpful if you email the Fayre Organiser with your plans.

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

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

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

The small print
Running order (timings approx):  Dog Show  11.30-12.45 / Norman Archery Tournament 12.45-1.15 / Children’s Sports 1.15-2 / Fun Tug O War 2-2.30 / Historia Normannis display 2.30-3 / Tractor Parade 3-3.30 / Norman Fighting ‘Melee’ 3.30-4pm

This is a local event, all run voluntarily by local people for a local charitable cause (the ongoing, and expensive, maintenance of our lovely 13th century village church, St Margaret’s).
The fayre is held, as usual, right in the centre of the village, on Uttoxeter Road (ST11 9AE) – with gates open at 11am. The day closes around 4.30pm.
Entry is £5, but children under-17 get in free.
On-site car-parking is free.  The helpful attendants are provided by Staffordshire Police Cadets, Leek Unit.
First-aid is on site, provided by St John’s Ambulance local branch.
If you can’t remember last year’s fayre, check out our review of it.

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

And again, special thanks to Paul & Sandy Ford of Highfields Farm. From the very start in 1990, they have hosted the fayre on their land, providing a water and electricity supply too.
And many thanks also to Wood Mitchell Printers who have printed the programme for many years.

See you there!!

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Dog show details…Draycott Fayre 2018 Dog Show poster

This page was last updated on June 30th
***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page. (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address. You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

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

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

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Village get-together

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

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

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

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

– – –
Questions about crime

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

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

– – –
Blythe Colours archive on the move

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

Blythe Colours archive arrives in Cheadle

Blythe Colours archive arrives in Cheadle

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

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

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

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Council Shenanigans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rail-path group back to action

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

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

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

Busy route

This line was once a very busy route.

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

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

Railway to greenway

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

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

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

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