Tag Archives: bill cash

NEWS: Covid stats / happy Sir Bill / Facebook’s worth / open library

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-January 2021
In this post we have news of…: our MP is a happy man / local Covid statistics / respect to library volunteers / our Facebook handles a crisis….

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

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Covid statistics

There’s no doubt what subject dominates the local, national and international news – it’s Covid. Despite the lockdown in November, Tier 4 in December, and lockdown 3 this month, the disease just seems to get more and more of a hold – even in our tiny corner of the world.

Everybody wears a mask these days… (pic Pexels.com)

The stats make for tough reading, but here they are.
Since the starts of the pandemic, our region (the Staffordshire Moorlands) has had over 4,000 cases identified – meaning that at least five per cent of us have been infected. The figure is probably much higher though, as many people either had milder symptoms or showed no symptoms at all, and so do not show up as ‘identified’ cases.

The good news however is that the ‘rolling rate’ of infection (the amount of people testing positive in the last seven days) in the Moorlands is now less than in the rest of Staffordshire. It is, at the time of writing, around 260 cases per 100,000 people (Staffordshire county as a whole is over 500).
As for the stats for Draycott, you can drill down to as far as the district of ‘Blythe & Caverswall’ (the official district that Draycott falls into). Just click on this link, and enter your postcode in the box to get the figures.
If you remember, our little district was a ‘hotspot’ problem area in November – but, as you can see, that is not the situation any more, thank goodness.

However, as everyone knows, the scenario is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Our regional ambulance service had its busiest day in its whole history on January 4th and no one thinks it’s going to get easier for the health services for some weeks.

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Community Facebook proves its worth

Community pages on Facebook get a lot of criticism – critics say they are full of tittle-tattle, spite and rumour-mongering. However, the Draycott one is pretty good (in our opinion) – probably because it is well managed by the volunteer locals who administer it.

The Draycott one especially proved its worth last month when a water-main burst on the junction by the Draycott Arms. For three days & more, the road was under water and closed to traffic.

Burst water main Draycott

However, it wasn’t more than a matter of minutes into the incident before the facebook group was in action, warning other residents of the issue, and keeping the community at large across the whole situation with running updates up until the road reopened.
Congratulations to the group.

Incidentally, there is now a second Draycott Community Facebook group. It’s not clear why a second group was felt to be necessary, but it’s there anyway. It’s private, unlike the main Facebook group (which is public to view), so, if you want to see the posts on it, you must formally join it.
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Open library

Hats off to the volunteers who run our local library at Blythe Bridge (see pic below). At the start of this current lockdown, ‘community-managed library branches’ (i.e. those run by volunteers, not paid staff) were given the choice to stay open or not. Of course, they did have to show that their buildings could be Covid-secure, but after that, it was the volunteers’ choice.

Blythe Bridge Library

Many county library branches said, no, they would shut. In fact, in neighbouring Shropshire, all libraries shut! This is why we say hats off to the volunteers at Blythe Library (who include in their numbers people from Draycott). They believe, as the government does, that “Libraries are an Essential Service” – and so they are keeping Blythe open (under conditions) two days a week, as they have done since September.
Much respect to them.

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Sir Bill has a smile

In amidst the gloom, one man can permit himself a smile at least.

Sir Bill Cash

Sir Bill Cash, our MP, has campaigned all the forty years of his parliamentary life to get Britain to leave the European Union. He has a long history as a ‘rebel’ within the Conservative party when it came to Europe.
Well – whether you agree with his stance on Europe or not – his dream came true on January 1st, when Britain formally exited the EU. In fact he is so against the idea of any sniff of union with the EU that it wasn’t clear he would support Boris Johnson in the final vote on December 30th – but in the end only two Tory MPS refused to support Mr Johnson and he wasn’t one of them.

So – what now for Sir Bill? He’s over eighty, and his biggest dream has been achieved. Will he choose to retire at the next election? It’s a possibility, and then we’d have a new MP..

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

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

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
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NEWS: Covid rises / Remembrance Day / pumpkin fest / MP’s silence

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late October 2020
In this post we have news of…: bad local figures for Covid / Remembrance will happen / pumpkins across Draycott / silence from MP over planning….

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here


Covid latest

As we all know, the pandemic has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and unfortunately our area (Staffordshire Moorlands) is one of those with a fast-rising rate of cases – see graph below. (For the big picture, see BBC News Covid Figures Updates).

Last week, the Moorlands figure was 209 cases per week per 100,000 people – which compares badly with a national figure of just 123. (Stoke-on-Trent was 234, and Manchester 470). Yes, we are in the orange blob next to Stoke on the map below.
Even though Stoke is not that far ahead of us, the city has just been put into Level High (Tier 2).

Moorlands map Covid mid October 2020

It’s really not clear why we are entering a red zone; around us, neighbouring regions – Derbyshire, Stafford, Uttoxeter etc – are doing much better. Of course, we won’t know the reality of the situation for another fortnight, which is when infections may (or may not) turn into crippling illness.

The point is: Draycott may feel like a sleepy outpost sometimes, but – without panicking – we now need to be extra careful.
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Remembrance goes ahead

Poppies may be on sale already, but there had been Covid-related fears that the main Remembrance Sunday event in our area would have to be cancelled.
Thankfully, it will go ahead after all – but … with no parade.

In most years, the British Legion branch takes part in a parade through Blythe Bridge to the war memorial by St Peter’s Church. That’s not happening this year.
However, those who wish to can lay a commemorative wreath at 11am on the day, Sunday 8th November, although the council would prefer the occasion to be supervised – if you want to lay a wreath, please email Forsbrook Viilage Council for advice. As it’s outside, observers can attend, but in well-distanced groups (of no more than six apiece).
STOP PRESS (AS OF 31/10/2020 – Because of the lockdown starting midnight on Wednesday 4th Nov, not only is our local Remembrance Parade (due Nov 8th) cancelled, but now so too is the wreath-laying at the war memorial in Forsbrook

At St Margaret’s in Draycott, a separate service will start at 10.30am (led by Rev Sam Crossley and lay-preacher Cllr Kate Bradshaw) and there will be a two-minutes silence at 11am. The leading bellringer at St M’s, John Clarke, will sound the bells either side of the silence.
But… to be present in the church for this, you MUST prebook your space, via admin@stmargarets.org.uk. Anyone can be present outside the church, of course.

On the day, there has usually also been a Blessing Of the War Graves at St Mary’s Cresswell. However, at the time of writing, it’s not clear if this will go ahead.
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Speak up Bill!

There are now only a few days left before end of the public consultation process concerning the Conservative government’s drive to change the planning laws. Depending on your point of view, the government’s ideas are virtually a free-pass for developers or a way of speeding up an inefficient system.

What’s for sure is that many of the government’s own supporters, including Tory councillors in our own area, are deeply unhappy. Even Tory MPs have been speaking out and campaigning against the new proposals.
Except…it seems… Sir Bill Cash, our local (Conservative) MP.

Less than ten years ago, Bill wrote a famous article in which he asked: why are MPs silent over planning?

Bill Cash planning article, 2011

He lambasted his fellow MPs for not speaking out as housing developments were being laid out across large swathes of greenfield land.
So you’d think that Bill would have quite a lot to say now, because both Draycott (which faces around 500 new homes in the next ten years) and Cheadle (which he also represents) contemplate massive increases in development.
But… we’ve heard nothing. Many of us would welcome his views, so c’mon Bill – say something!

If you do want to take part in the public consultation on the government’s white paper ‘Planning For The Future’ you have until October 29th; click here to see the details.

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Life goes on

To end on a happy note… Walking round Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow you may notice many pumpkins on display on people’s fronts. What you are seeing is the Draycott Pumpkin Fest, which runs until Nov 2nd.It’s all the brainchild of local resident Lee Warburton (who also put together the village planters project) and he’s been using the village facebook page to explain the idea. But, in essence, it’s simple enough – decorate a pumpkin (real or artificial, doesn’t matter) at your home, and then put it on show for the delight of those walking by.

Pumpkin Fest beauties in Cresswell Old Lane – thanks to Dave Cole

In these times, it’s great to have someone who can bring a little cheer, so … Happy Halloween, all…!

***
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.
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NEWS: Lockdown blooms / politics zooms / new use for phone-box / black lives matter

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid June 2020
In this post we have news of…: blooming planters! / life-saver for Draycott phone-box / council meets online / protest signs in Cresswell

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College gets Draycott flowering

Even in lockdown, there have been all sorts of attempts in the community to keep people’s spirits up.
One of the most noticeable has been the sudden flowering of the eight planters in Draycott. Last month, Draycott Moor College students & staff volunteered to help out on the Draycott Planters Project, which was set up by local resident Lee Warburton two years ago – and it is their efforts which have created the wonderful displays you can see now.
(The college, unlike most other schools, stayed open, because some of its children are at-risk and some were also the children of key workers).

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The project received £250 from the County Council’s Covid-19 Fund, and Draycott Council also contributed.

The students have actually been pretty busy during this time, as they have also been helping out with the Draycott Community Coronavirus Support Group. Well done to them…

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Support for carers and NHS

The Thursday Night Clap For Carers was another activity that brought many of us together, even if it was only from our front gates.
However, although the whole thing officially ended a couple of weeks ago, it looks like one last revival of it is now planned – for Sunday July 5th, which will then be a ‘proper’ finale.

In Draycott at large, music seemed to accompany the Thursday Clap. At St Margaret’s Church, they would ring the bells at 8pm on those days (thanks Dave!); and in Rookery Crescent (Cresswell), Vera Lynn would sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’!
Let’s hope music features again on July 5th.

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Politics made easier

Covid or not, decisions still need to be made, so politics carries on, even if it’s under strange conditions.

Draycott Council have been ‘meeting virtually’, using Zoom, the online video-conferencing system. In fact, it has been very successful, with as many as twelve people (including councillors) tuning into the meeting on June 8th.

The obvious benefit of Zoom is that it enables anyone with a computer to check in and see what’s going on – no matter the weather or how one is feeling.

Other great things about Zoom conferencing is that it forces groups to allow one person to speak at a time, and also enables everybody watching to be able to hear very clearly what is being said. All these are real boons, because it’s often difficult to catch what is being said at a ‘normal’ Draycott Council meeting.
It would almost be preferable (we think) to hold all meetings via Zoom in future… Well, it’s a thought anyway!

Sir Bill CashThe lockdown has led to one problematic thing in the Houses of Parliament, because MPs who are not physically present there are not allowed to vote in debates – not even those MPs who are at home because they or their loved ones are at-risk. It’s a strange situation.
We wondered if our own MP, Bill Cash (see pic) – who is 80 years old after all -, would fall into that category. However, it seems he is living in his London flat, so he can attend debates.
So, no need to stop writing to him if you have concerns he might be able to help with.

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Life-saving equipment for Draycott

It seems Draycott Council have now decided to officially take ownership of the old BT phone box in Draycott. (It’s to be found up against The Old Post Office house, diagonally opposite The Draycott Arms.)

draycott phonebox

Phonebox at old post office, Draycott-le-Moors

It’s in a bit of a state inside, quite decayed, but BT were offering it to the council for just £1…

But what to do with it?
Well, the council has also now decided to put a defibrillator in there, like in so many other former phone-boxes. (In fact, the old kiosk in Cresswell also now houses a defibrillator, and has done since 2015.)
A defibrillator is a piece of life-saving equipment which can be used – by anyone – to help revive people who are suffering cardiac arrest.

However, it’s not clear yet how the council intends to pay for refurbishing the Draycott kiosk and for installing a defibrillator; more than £2000 will be needed.
By contrast, the Cresswell kiosk project was a community effort, run by VVSM, the local action group, and the way they paid for it was by fund-raising through jumble sales and begging for donations.

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Black Lives Matter

As we all know, Draycott-in-the-Moors is quite a sleepy place, and sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that events in the outside world do not affect us.

But it seems some things are too big to be ignored. Covid is one of course, but now signs are appearing in the village reminding us of the terrible recent event in America where yet another African-American man died at the hands of the police – the George Floyd affair.
The news of the event seems to have shocked the world, and there have been demonstrations in many countries – and even  the British Parliament held a minute’s silence to remember Mr Floyd.

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Signs have now also begun to appear in Draycott-in-the-Moors.  (Interestingly, the signs in Cresswell have hearts drawn over them – a message of hope.)
Perhaps some matters are simply so important that they can penetrate even into quiet lives like ours in Draycott.

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

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

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Bill’s disappointment

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

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

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

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Not so much of a shelter now

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Thoughts on local policing

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

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

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

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

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Help the homeless

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Homeless at Xmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS: 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

NEWS: neighbourhood plan / church re-fit / bye to Bill? / Chandni 5*

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-January 2018
In this post we have news of…: repairs programme for St Margaret’s / Draycott to change MPs? / will YOU be part of plan process? / Chandni Cottage Restaurant report…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Valentines Ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Church’s birthday re-fit

You may have noticed that our parish church of St Margaret’s is currently covered in scaffolding. It turns out that this is all due to some necessary repairs ordered by the Church Of England authorities – and will cost a stinging £40,000…

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The 13th century church developed a leak in the roof a while back, which was fixed eventually by the church’s own volunteer project manager, John Clarke.  John is well-known for his unstinting efforts to keep the ancient church viable. (See the Saving The Bells story).

However, then along came the compulsory Church Of England ‘Quinquennial’ five-year review – and that report has demanded the repair of virtually the whole main roof. The trusted restoration experts, Midlands Conservation, are undertaking the work because of the great historical value of the building.
Fortunately, the church wardens at the church have been putting money by, so this won’t bust the bank, but it does mean fund-raising efforts (such as the Draycott Summer fayre) will have to be intensified.

Curiously, the refit comes just as the church is about to celebrate its 750th anniversary – which makes it a sort of birthday present!

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Got a plan for our neighbourhood?

People in Draycott district have been kicking around the idea of developing a ‘neighbourhood plan’ for some years now.
Well, slowly, slowly, the Draycott Council has been progressing the idea. In fact, it now has formal approval for the project, and has been given a grant of £5000 to make it happen.

A ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ outlines what a local community wants to see for itself in the future – especially as regards large planning developments (for and against). The government supports the idea of NPs and gave them official backing in its Localism Act in 2011.
The most important thing about Neighbourhood Plans is that they give formal protection to what a district wants for itself – for the ways it views its green spaces and how new building projects should ‘fit in’ etc.

Next stage of the process here in Draycott is where YOU come in.
An open forum has been called for Fri 26 Jan (see details), and everyone in the district (including Cresswell, Totmonslow and Draycott Cross) is invited to come along to express views.
An expert will be on hand to explain more, and to outline how you can take part even more than just saying your piece, even how you can get to sit on the district committee if you want.checkley neighbourhood plan posterA number of other districts have already pushed ahead with neighbourhood plans and they say they do energise the community. Checkley & Tean have been particularly energetic (see pic above) – have a look at their website’s N Plan pages to find out more.

– – –
Goodbye to Sir Bill?

There now seems to be backing for a proposal to move Draycott district out of the Stone parliamentary constituency and into the Staffs Moorlands parliamentary constituency.
The government’s Boundary Commission has been taking public comments on the proposals and Staffs Moorlands councillors are the latest to come out in favour of the idea.

Sir Bill CashIf it goes through it would mean a change of MP for us, as we would move out of the remit of Sir Bill Cash (see pic right), and would find ourselves being represented instead by another Conservative MP, Karen Bradley, who currently holds the Staffs Moorlands constituency.

However – a lot of political commentators say the proposals have no chance of being accepted.
(So…bit of a waste of time really…!)

– – –
Chandni celebrates

Nice to see that Chandni Cottage, the Indian restaurant at the Blythe end of Draycott, has got a five-out-of-five rating for its food hygiene standards, following a visit from environment inspectors. It had a less than excellent rating the previous time inspectors visited, so they’ve done a fair job to turn it around.

Chandni CottageIt’s well deserved. Yasmeen Yacqub and her team have been in place ever since the restaurant opened in 1996, so they know the business well, and they know their customers well.
It was from listening to customer demand that they developed fat-free versions of most of their dishes, put together the recent refurbishment, and even organised a ‘diners club’ which enables members to taste cuisine from around the world.
Actually, the customers play a full part in the Chandni’s outlook – exemplified by one group of regulars, headed up by Andy Bird, who even go out on country walks to raise money for charity.
That would build your appetite up…!

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NEWS: elections in / book success / accounts (?) / bowls club

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the recent election results / local history book success / council’s invisible accounts / bowls club open …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Fun Tennis Tournament. Check out the Events page)

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

– – –
Results are in

Well, that’s it for elections for a while (hopefully!).
Since last year’s referendum, we in Draycott have had a parish-council bye-election, a county council election, AND a general election. The next lot is due in 2019.

As for the results, Tory candidate Mark Deaville was re-elected as one of our Staffordshire county councillors for the Cheadle & Checkley ward (which includes us) with a whopping 56% of the vote. No-one else was in sight. Sadly, the turn-out was just a measly 28% of the electorate.
Soon after the election, the Conservative administration on the county council confirmed that Mark will resume his post as the county’s Cabinet member for highways. Congratulations to him.

In the general election, it was a similar story with Conservative Bill Cash storming home to be (again) our MP for the Stone constituency. Oddly, the trailing Labour candidate did get a huge increase his votes too – but that is explained by the total collapse of the local UKIP vote.

Weirdly, Mr Cash has just put up a new website – https://billcashforstone.wordpress.com/ – about his work in this constituency, but it is the most amateurish piece of work we’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to believe he approved it.
Sadly, Mr Cash has turned off the comments function of this website; it would have been nice to be able to put a comment on!

– – –
Email a photo now

Our local library at Blythe Bridge has a photography completion running at the moment – and they are looking for photos of this whole area (including Draycott).
The idea is that the photos should be of a local quiet spot, somewhere where a person can just sit and contemplate the world. It could be your own back-yard, or it could be somewhere where you stop for a moment on your walks.

Draycott churchyard

A place to stop and think: Draycott St Margaret’s churchyard…

It’s easy to take part – just email your photo to the library – and you could be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Click here for the rules etc.

– – –
Successful history book

Congratulations to local boy Matthew Pointon whose book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors raised over £700 in profit.
Matthew, who took not a penny himself, asked for the profits to be divided equally among the two historic churches in Draycott – St Margaret’s Parish Church and St Mary’s RC Church at Cresswell.

The parish council, who put up the initial money to see the book published, decided such an achievement needed a special event to celebrate it; and a History Event was held at St Margaret’s on June 3rd.

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During the afternoon, Levison Wood, the chairman of the local history society, led a special history tour of the village, which was very successful; and tea & cakes were served (for free!!).  Alongside that were special displays remembering the long, long history of this village.

– – –
Bowls – a true Summer sport

One of the disadvantages of a lot of summer sports is that they can be cancelled because of rain. However, not so in crown-green bowls!
The sturdy members of the local bowling club in Cresswell pretty much carry on in the rain – unless it’s lashing down.

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary, says the club is still keen to find new members – from absolute beginners to skilled champions.
Basic membership is £10 for the year, though that means you have to pay £1 each time you use the green. The clubhouse on the site was refurbished last year, so it’s a comfortable experience.
The great thing is that the green is pretty much open all the time; it’s sited at the entrance to the business park in Cresswell, so it is open 16 hours a day!

The club get-together is always on Thursday afternoon, so that is a good time to wander over and introduce yourself if you want to have a go, or get some guidance.

– – –
Invisible accounts

Lastly, you may have seen on the noticeboards that Draycott Council has finally published its end-of-year accounts, and we all have until Friday 21st July to examine them, and, if need be, query them.

Trouble is: how do you get to them, to see them?

Most local councils now put a print-out on their noticeboards, or publish them online.  This what next-door Milwich Council and Dilhorne Council have done. The government is urging every council to do it one of these ways.
Some councils (including next-door Hilderstone Council) even publish the chairman’s annual report online.

But not Draycott Council.  At least, not yet.
In this district, what we have to do is first apply to the council clerk for permission to see them, and then (presumably – but who knows?) we have to trudge round to an address somewhere just to see the papers.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler – and more democratic – to publish them online on the council’s website?
Please?

====STOP PRESS:  A week after this article was written, these accounts were published online after all – see Draycott Council Accounts 2016/17. Thank you to the council for responding to residents’ requests).=====

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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: accident / litter problems / school results / new MP?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid September 2016
News of…:  telegraph pole comes down in accident / Blythe High results / Cresswell litter black-spot / changing our Parliamentary constituency? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including official opening of the new Blythe Bridge Library. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Old Road accident

There was another bump on the Uttoxeter Road / Draycott Old Road junction the other day. A car banged into a telegraph pole there on Saturday (10th), hard enough to make the pole snap off completely, bringing down all its wires too (see pic).
Draycott collapsed postFortunately, nobody seems to have been seriously hurt, but the police are still looking for witnesses if you saw anything.

Congratulations by the way to those local residents who heard the thump and rushed out to help. They cordoned off the area too so that no more accidents might happen – very public-spirited of them!

– – –
Untidy – again

It must be nearly a year ago that we first reported how untidy stretches of Draycott/Cresswell were, and how shabby some of the structures in public ownership are (and we are not even talking about the potholes!!).
There were howls of protest then from people saying that we were ‘talking down’ the area, but sadly, things have got no better.

We did another walk along Cresswell Lane, from the the A50 underpass to the Izaak Walton and just in that short stretch counted SEVENTY pieces of litter.
Most are what you’d expect – fast food containers and plastic bottles – so we’d guess much of the litter is chucked out of car windows as these motorists drive past the sports centre and then along to the railway line.
It’s a mystery to us why they would wait until that particular stretch before thinking of throwing their litter out of their car… unless… it’s local people ‘cleaning’ their car before getting home.  If it’s local people, then that is a shame on them.

Of course, the local Draycott community/parish council does employ a litter-picker to gather all this stuff up, and the last time this was all brought up, the council did promise to check why the litter accumulates at such a rate in certain stretches.  It will be interesting to get their answer.

Draycott bus-shelter-roof

The tiles here on the Draycott central shelter have been waiting for repair for a year

Meanwhile, some things that the community-parish council is itself directly responsible for do need sorting too.  The state of the bus-shelters that belong to them is one (see pic above), but two of the planters on Uttoxeter Road really need just to be thrown away, as they are in a state of collapse, and just look really really bad.

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Over to you, councillors … again.

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New MP for us?

The powers that be are having a go at sorting out Parliamentary constituency boundaries.
Every so often this has to be done because of population shifts etc etc, but this time it is also because the Government wants to reduce the overall number of constituencies anyway to make them more ‘manageable’.

As older people will remember, Draycott is one of the places that keeps being shifted about. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were shifted into the Stone constituency, which, as you may know, is held by Bill Cash MP; and is a safe Tory seat.

The new idea is to re-shift us, this time into the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency, which is currently held by the Conservative Karen Bradley, but which is a little bit more of a marginal seat.  The new border would almost run right through Cresswell (see map).

proposed-new-constituencies
This is only a suggestion at the moment – but, what do you think?

– – –
Exam results

The governors and teachers at Blythe Bridge High School, where many of our teenagers go to school, must be breathing a sigh of relief.
The 2016 Real Schools Guide only gave Blythe Bridge a 46% rating and was concerned about attendance levels at the school – but did at least compliment the recent higher levels in attainment and teaching.

But… it looks like this summer’s exam results were pretty good though, which bears out the last Ofsted Report, in July, that gave the school a rating of ‘Good’.
On an upward track, it seems…

***
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NEWS: adverts ugly? / vicar & Syria / planning map / folk music

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2015
News of…:  (ugly?) advertising hoardings / new vicar & politics of the day / where did the politicians go? / New local planning map / return of the folk musicians …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including Halloween events. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Is advertising an eyesore?

One of the issues that has risen to the surface recently among people who read this website is the question of the advertising hoardings outside Blythe Cricket Club’s ground in Cresswell.
We had a few emails (see our last post) to suggest that these hoardings are unwelcome, mostly because they are too ugly for a small and homely place like Cresswell.

Cresswell advertising hoardings

Advertising hoardings at the cricket club in Cresswell

In previous years, the cricket club mounted these hoardings on the fence inside the cricket ground, but this summer moved them to the outside fence, where they now face the road.  Presumably the advertisers prefer this site because it gets more ‘eyeballs’, as the saying goes.

But what do you think?  Are you bothered?
Use the comments box at the bottom of this page if you want to put forward a view…

– – –
New vicar … and Syria

The Reverend Jonathan Roberts has now finally settled in as the local vicar.  There hasn’t been anyone in place as the ‘rector’ (as he must officially be known) since Easter, when David Bickersteth retired from the post.  However Reverend Jonathan is now holding regular services at St Margaret’s, and says he looks forward to chatting with anyone at the tea-and-biscuits session (which takes place after the Sunday morning service) if he is there.

Rev Roberts and church wardens

Rev Roberts with the St Margaret’s church wardens Pauline Clarke (on left of picture) and Dave Meller (on right)

Reverend Jonathan seems a dynamic person, and, perhaps reflecting that, there is a strong ‘call to action’ article which has appeared in this month’s parish magazine.
The article points out that Syria has a significant minority Christian community, which is caught (literally) in the gunfire between warring groups in that unhappy country.  The magazine article suggests we need to give them, and all refuges, more help.  The article says:  “Christians in Syria and elsewhere are looking for ‘Christian’ countries to help them. Our government has consistently not helped Christians in other countries, and shows a lack of compassion to all refugees of whatever religion.”
Strong words indeed from our local church.

– – –
What happened to the surgeries?

One thing that always happens at elections is that the hopefuls who’d like to be our MP or local councillor start showing up and making promises.  Almost as predictably too, they seem to disappear from sight after the election.

That’s certainly true of our some of our local representatives.
According to his website, the local MP hasn’t had a surgery anywhere in this constituency for a whole six months now, and the articles he was writing for the local paper seem to have dried up.
Meanwhile, at local level, I could swear some of the new councillors told us they might hold similar surgeries, for local folk to come along and discuss issues on their minds – not to mention saying that they would make greater efforts to come out to ‘meet the people’.  We wait for that day…

One local-government development we do like though is that Staffordshire Moorlands Council has started a new ‘interactive-planning-map’ on its website.  It’s a lot easier to use than having to trudge through the usual planning-applications webpages.  The interactive map shows not just planning applications either, it shows things like where the nearest ‘protected tree’ is and even where the official flood-zones are.
(… according to this map, nearly the whole of Blythe Business Park is in a flood-zone…  Hmm.)

– – –
Trad folk

Finally, if you’re a musician, you’ll welcome the news that the weekly folk music sessions return for the autumn, on Tuesday afternoons at Draycott Church Hall.
Ann Mundy tells us that she welcomes musicians who’d like to join in learning to play mostly English, Scottish, American and Irish traditional dance tunes.  It’s all for fun, but occasionally the participants go out and do a concert.
If you play an instrument that fits that bill, and would like to participate, drop her line.

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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)

Step closer for Cresswell housing estate plans

The possibility that we will see a large housing estate built in Cresswell has taken a step closer, after our MP Bill Cash revealed that the Government has turned down his request to review the planning permission decision made back in February.

Despite over 170 letters of objection from local people, a formal objection from Draycott Parish Council, and a ‘recommendation to refuse’ from the planning experts at SMDC -, the councillors on the Staffs Moorlands District Council Planning Committee decided five months ago to support a plan to double the size of the Blythe industrial park and build 170 new homes in Cresswell.

Late last week, the Minster for Local Government, Marcus Jones, contacted Sir Bill to tell him:   “…I have decided not to ‘call in’ this application…. I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and our constituents.”

Emergency meeting

This decision by the Government leaves the way open for Staffs Moorlands District Council to ratify their decision to allow the housing estate & to permit the doubling of the number of industrial units on the Blythe Park site. (See SMDC’s Cresswell Planning Application page)

Cresswell proposal

Cresswell proposal – planned new build is in pink colouring – homes on the left, industrial units on the right, with the present industrial park in blue. (The railway is seen, being the line along the top of this graphic)

The local residents’ group, VVSM, has held an emergency meeting, and have decided however not to give up the fight.
Shelagh Wood, the group’s chairperson, said: “The next course of action would be to apply for a ‘judicial review‘.  We think we have a case, as the SMDC planning committee members deliberately flouted their own experts’ advice and also went directly against the Moorlands Core Strategy.

Shelagh Wood

Shelagh Wood

“…But… to press for a judicial review will cost money, so we need to see what support exists among the local residents – we will be holding an open meeting next month to see what level of feeling there is in the community for this step.  For myself, I think if the plans go ahead, it will change Cresswell forever.”

All eyes are now on Draycott Parish Council, which has its next meeting on Monday 20th July, where members will discuss the issue.
In the past, the council has refused to do more than write a letter of objection to the plans.  The then-chairman said they could do no more, as they “had to be fair to all sides.”  (This was said even though there were over 160 official letters of objection to the plans, as against four in favour).
However, the election in June has seen an influx of new faces on the parish council.  Will the newbies be prepared to spur the council into firmer action?

It will also be interesting to see if our three local district councillors, who (apart from Councillor Colin Pearce) have been very quiet on this issue, also decide they now need, at the last minute, to take a more public stance.

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