Tag Archives: bill cash

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.

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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…!)

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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…!

***
Do you have news you’d like to see written 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: 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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).=====

***
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

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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!

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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…

***
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: 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)

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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…

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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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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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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 ]

Election 2015 results in Draycott

Well – it’s pretty much ‘as you were’.
All the sitting candidates locally got back in, though, because there were ‘vacancies’ on the parish-council, some new faces do appear there.
Our neighbourhood of Draycott-in-the-Moors (including Cresswell &  Totmonslow) didn’t experience any surprises – unlike the UK as a whole…

Member of Parliament

Sir Bill CashOn such a night as that one was, there could only be one winner as MP for our area – the Tory incumbent, Sir Bill Cash (left).
He took the Stone parliamentary constituency with a staggering 55% of the vote, with the Labour and UKIP candidates lagging way behind him, and the rest out of sight.

District Councillors

mark deaville No change here either – as the three incumbent Conservatives got back in.  Continuing to represent us on Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, for the Checkley District Ward, will be Mark Deaville (left), Colin Pearce and David Trigger.
Of the three, Mark lives in Draycott parish, so he takes a certain responsibility for its interests on SMDC.   Mark is also a Staffordshire County councillor and a Draycott parish councillor.
The Conservatives did so well on the night in this part of the world that they will now run Staffordshire Moorlands with an outright majority.

Parish Councillors

Steve JonesAgain, no real surprises.  The four sitting councillors, Gordon Winfield,  Pauline Clarke, Mark Deaville and Roger Tabbernor all got in pretty easily.  Of the newcomers, Steve Jones (left) polled surprisingly well, coming third in the overall vote.  The two other new faces are Jacquie Leach (who is also vice-chair of the VVSM Action group) and Roger Holdcroft.  Congratulations to them all!
The two candidates who failed to make the finishing line were Pat McLaughlin and Lee Stanford.
The turnout in Draycott parish was almost 70%, which makes it higher than the national average (66%).
None of the new councillors stood under a party label for the parish council elections except Mark Deaville who stood as a Tory.   They will all take their seats at the Annual General Meeting on Monday 18th May, when a new chairman will also be elected.

For full results and facts – for district and parishes – click here

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Want to comment ?
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: election update / sad loss / delay at Arms / planning hots up

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early-May 2015
News of…:  parish candidates election appeals / bereavement in Catholic community / when will superfast arrive? / delays at The Draycott Arms / good news for VVSM community action group…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a VE Day celebration. Check out the Events page)

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Big build-up

Only a few days to go now – Election Thursday is almost upon us. As you know, electors will have the chance to vote in one MP, three district councillors and seven parish councillors. Click here for details of the candidates for each poll.

Meanwhile, the candidates for the parish council seats have been busy, putting out leaflets and talking to voters.
Five of the candidates for the Draycott parish council (which also covers Cresswell and Totmonslow) have even published their ‘candidate statements’ online – click here to see what they have to say about why local electors should vote for them.

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Sad loss

However, the news from St Mary’s Catholic Church reminds us that there are even more important things in life than general elections.

Neville Mountford

Neville Mountford

We were saddened to hear of the deaths of Neville Mountford and John Toft, two long-standing stalwarts of the local Catholic community, who were both very active within it until very recently.

Neville was the go-to person at the church for its history and for stories of the priests & parishioners down the years, while John, who was resident at Izaak Walton Farm (next to the pub) for many years, was also a very familiar face. Neville particularly was looking forward to the Cresswell Church’s 200th Anniversary celebrations next year – and had been helping organise them.
Both were great people; and we send our condolences to their families.

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Sir Bill steps in

Both John and Neville did not think much of the recent planning approval by the Staffs Moorlands Council, which will see the size of Cresswell’s housing stock & industry double.
The whole project is in a temporary hiatus while a government case-officer reviews the implications.

The VVSM community group are still working away behind the scenes to try to ensure that the case-officer has all the facts he needs.
So it’s congratulations to them for keeping up contacts with Sir Bill Cash, who is now one of the candidates for this parliamentary constituency. Sir Bill recently phoned the group’s vice-chairperson to say how much he supported them in their endeavours, and to tell them that he is demanding that the whole project be ‘called-in’.
For more on what this all means – click here

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Super… what?

There is some confusion about what exactly the situation is with the ‘Superfast Broadband’ connection that the village has been promised.
A new green cabinet was installed in Cresswell lay-by a couple of months ago, and, when we spoke to the engineers, they said the broadband should be flowing from it by April.
Well, nothing doing yet, it appears!

Tean broadband

However, congratulations to Tean, whose superfast connection went live two weeks ago.
It will be our turn soon, we hope.

– – –
The thirst goes on

The new owners at The Draycott Arms say the refurbishment at the pub will take longer than they had hoped for – so the opening date has had to be put back by two weeks, to Friday 12th June.

Draycott Arms door

With the Izaak Walton remaining closed (and the owners Mornington Pubs not still telling us what their immediate intentions are), the only official pub open in the neighbourhood is The Hunter in Cresswell.
Of course, you can still get a drink at the cricket ground at the weekends and at the Sports Centre most evenings (no membership required at either venue) if you don’t want to make the trek down to The Hunter….

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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).