Tag Archives: A50

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

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

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

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

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

++
Fatal accident

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

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

++
Road safety

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

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

++
Planning matters

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

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

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

++
Feisty women!

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

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

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

Wildlife Board unveiled

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS: history damage? / bridge cracks / neighbourhood plan / police meetings

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid January 2016
News of…:  destruction of a listed structure? / cracks in A50 flyover / end to police liaison meetings / plans for a Neighbourhood Plan / snow comes and goes …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Burns Night celebration! Check out the Events page)

– – –
Moat no more?

There are only a dozen or ‘Grade 2 listed’ structures in Draycott-in-the-Moors; and one of them appears to be just a grassy ditch & mound.  However, this ordinary-looking earthwork (in fields at the south-west end of Cresswell) is actually the remains of the medieval moat that once surrounded the ancient Paynsley Hall.
The Government holds it to be of ‘national archaeological importance’.

However, the English Heritage group is so worried that it could be damaged that it is one of only twelve structures in the Moorlands to appear on their latest annual ‘Endangered List’.  It has been on the endangered list every year for a number of years.

However, some older members of the local parish council say they believe that it has already been destroyed! They have said that they have seen no evidence recently that the ground has been preserved.

It’s impossible for us to confirm one way or the other, as the structure lies hidden on private property near Painsley Farm. Apparently, English Heritage is investigating the claims.

– – –
Cracks in bridge

Another damaged structure has come to light too – but it’s a little more modern.

Crack in A50 flyover

Myra Williams emailed us these photos of the A50 flyover bridge on Cresswell Lane, which clearly shows that a piece of concrete has simply cracked and dropped off it…
The second photo (below) is a long-shot.

Crack in A50 flyover

Myra says she doesn’t know when this happened, or whether it indicates a problem.
Can anyone tell us? Please email us if you know

– – –
Police meetings suspended

One other thing that is missing at the moment is any local police consultation meetings.
Up until the middle of last year, there were monthly (and sometimes fortnightly) public meetings organised by the Forsbrook Local Policing Unit (which also oversees Draycott).
However, they have been discontinued since August, despite the ongoing spate of burglaries locally (just last week, there was another burglary at an outbuilding, this time in Draycott Cross Road).

Constable Adam Charlesworth, our community support officer, told us that hardly anyone was attending the meetings, and there seemed no point in continuing with them.  Adam says he is now exploring other ways of creating public liaison.
Curiously, the two neighbourhood watch projects in Draycott also seem to have folded.

– – –
Plans for a plan

You may have noticed in the local paper that a lot of villages in Staffordshire are rushing to set up their ‘neighbourhood plans’.  Just last week, Brown Edge, Biddulph and next-door Checkley announced their intentions.

Longdon village leaflet

Longdon has started in already

The reason for the rush is, not only that the 2011 Localism Bill made it easier for villages to do this, but because many villagers now realise that having a neighbourhood-plan in place it is one way of helping to stop crazy development proposals being forced on a community that doesn’t want them.
(Some people say that if Draycott had had a neighbourhood plan in place already then it might perhaps have blocked the huge Blythe Park housing-estate project).

Well, a little slow off the mark, but no slower than some others to be fair, Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council is also joining the rush.  The council has set up its own sub-committee to see how feasible (and how expensive) the idea is.  It’s expected that leaflets explaining the matter will be pushed through local letter-boxes sometime in the next two months.

Incidentally, it’s easy to confuse a Neighbourhood Plan with a Parish Plan or even a Local Plan (!).
A neighbourhood plan sets out a community’s attitude to development in its locality, and has official status; the Draycott ‘parish plan’ is just a set of hopes and aspirations drawn up by a community;  and a Local Plan is a government-approved strategy for planning matters in a region (in our case, it’s the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan).

– – –
And finally… snow

Well, it’s been a funny old winter.  Despite a sprinkling of snowflakes back in November, it’s really been a story of rains and mild temperatures, hasn’t it?
And then suddenly, last week, in came the snow.

St Margaret's church in snow

St Margaret’s Church in snow

On Sunday, the snow was particularly thick, and some of us were battening down the hatches while also out taking some snow photographs… only to wake up on Monday and find it nearly all gone!
Weird.

***
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)

Thirty years of the A50

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the biggest-ever construction project in Draycott’s history – the A50 road.
However, it has been thirty years of pain for some locals, so don’t expect a celebration…

The A564

In 1985, the ‘A564’ stretch of dual carriageway was opened – changing its name very soon to the ‘A50’.   It stretched from Blythe Bridge Bridge to Uttoxeter.
The project was a massive one, causing years of disruption in Draycott.  The parish was cut in half by the road, into the Cresswell and Draycott sides; and it required five bridges and underpasses to keep them in touch with each other.

A564 sign

The sign announcing the coming of the A564

Also, the ancient trackways of Cresswell Lane and Cresswell Old Lane were re-routed, which is why they look different on old maps.

But there was one huge problem: the new road was made of concrete.
Concrete is hard-wearing, cheap and easy to lay; but the traffic surface noise, a sort of intense whining, can be unbearable to listen to – as many residents then found out.

The question is then: why, in this whole thirty years, has the surface never been replaced – thus making life so much easier for residents?

Prevention

The highway engineers who built the road knew what the problem would be.
At one time (when the route of the new A50 was planned to be north , not south, of Draycott Level), the Department of Transport paid for double-glazing to be installed in houses in Uttoxeter Road, Stuart Avenue and Draycott Old Road.  The department was fully aware of the noise issue.

Even on the A50 nowadays there is a thirty-foot high embankment running alongside the road, designed to prevent noise travelling over to the Draycott community.  However, when the wind is blowing at you, despite the embankment, the noise is still pretty intense – low-level of course, but constant.  Some residents have described it as a ‘stress’ torture.

A50 bridge construction

A number of underpasses were built to keep contact between Draycott and Cresswell

But – the engineers may not be at fault completely.  It seems that they may have underestimated the huge use the A50 would get.   After all, it was actually planned as the ‘Tean Bypass’ when it was built – whereas now, it is, in reality, the north Midlands link between the M1 and M6!

Protest

For over twenty years, Draycott residents have been complaining to the government.  Studies had shown that changing the surface material would reduce ‘impressible’ noise by a quarter.

The major push was in 1999, when a petition was put together, organised by the parish council of the day. It garnered thousands of signatures, took one year’s effort & work, and eventually reached the minister in charge – and precisely nothing happened…

Since then the parish council has continued to keep in touch, almost on a monthly basis, with the Department of Transport, but nothing alters.  As one former parish council chairman glumly remarked to us – there is almost no point in keeping on trying; they have never listened…

The latest attempt was earlier this year, when our MP Bill Cash wrote to John Hayes detailing areas of importance for noise mitigation to be considered.  Mr Hayes simply replied “There are no immediate plans to resurface the A50 – as the road surface is in a safe and serviceable condition”.
As far as road builders (and the government) are concerned, concrete is fantastic.  It needs few or no repairs, and has a life expectancy of forty years.  Yes, it’s much more difficult to dig up than asphalt is – but who needs to dig up the A50?

Will change happen?

So, if all the above is true… why was the Doveridge stretch of the A50 (near Uttoxeter) recently replaced??  Well, the whisper is that the Uttoxeter Labour MP Janet Dean absolutely worked her socks off (until she lost her seat in 2010) to make sure it happened.
So… she has shown us that change can be achieved.

Also, road builders are using concrete less and less, because of the environmental issues.

A50 stretch

The A50 today

To try to put a dent in the government’s intransigence, this year the parish council has decided to change tactics.   Mark Deaville, the newly-elected council’s vice chairman, has taken on the task of spear-heading the efforts to create change.  This is the first time the council has appointed one of its own members to take on the task personally (in the past, it has often relied on the clerk to do the work) – and this is surely an advance.
Mark is a vastly experienced politician, so he is the obvious person for the job.  If you have views, contact him: he wants to hear from you.

Comments?

Now… it’s over to you.
Do you have views about having to put up with thirty years of A50 noise pollution?
If you do, join the Draycott Facebook group – and get talking!
Or … why not jot down your thoughts in the Comments section further down this web-page?
What you say could make a difference…..

[References:  History of Draycott-en-le-Moors by Matthew Pointon, pg174 / Photos courtesy of the Barry Phillips Collection ]