Tag Archives: blythe business park

175 Years of Colour Making

One of the casualties of the Covid crisis has been the grand exhibition that was planned to take place this month to mark exactly 175 years of colours making at Cresswell. The Colours Memories Group, which was organising the event, now say they’ll postpone until next year.
So, we thought we’d give you a little reminder of what’s happened on the Cresswell site over the past 175 years, using a timeline. Older folk will recognise some of the names and younger ones may get an idea of what a proud history it was.

Tub Thumping - FJ Forrester 1965

Some tub thumping!

Back through the years

Even before the most famous Blythe Colour Works was set up by the River Blithe in Cresswell (on the site of what is now the Blythe Business Park), there had been colours making going on here for over forty years. Colours for the pottery industry are made from various naturally-occurring rocks and minerals, and the making of colours from such materials was (and is) a specialist part of the pottery industry.

In the early days, the process of making such materials needed to be by a river which could then drive a waterwheel. In its turn, the power generated from the wheel could drive a grinding mill… in which the specially chosen mineral rocks could be ground down to a powder – ready for later use when added in pottery firings.

Cresswell was an ideal spot: being on the River Blithe; being 100 yards from Cresswell Railway Station (from where materials could travel on to the Potteries in Stoke); and on cheap land.

TIMELINE
1850s:  Cresswell Mill appears in the records, relating to a boring
for coal in 1856. Probably Cresswell Mill was both a flint and
bone mill as the scale of both operations and the processing would be similar.

1860s : Along Waterworks Lane (opposite the Izaak Walton), John Docksey (sometimes spelt Doxey) established a flint-grinding mill by 1861. He then went into colours-manufacturing too. You can still see the remains of some brickwork of an old mill on the spot (though that short length of the river has dried up now). John Docksey died in 1900 and he is buried alongside his wife if at St Mary’s Church in Cresswell.
For more about Cresswell’s mill-stream, click here.

1870 (September) : Historians’ date for the beginning of colour making at Cresswell
1880s : A partnership of two businessmen, Pigott and Scarratt, set up a ‘Blythe Colours’ works on the opposite side of the road from Docksey’s first mill. They named it after the river (which they spelt Blythe, not Blithe as it should be).

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1908 (possibly 1910) : Fred Wildblood buys the Piggott & Scarratt business – the Wildblood family would be the main owners of Blythe Colours for the next fifty and more years
1914  :  Within a few years of the Wildblood buy-out Blythe Colour Works was one of the most advanced and successful of its kind in Europe
1920 : Waterwheel abandoned as source of power – replaced by electricity
1926 : The company’s Sports Ground was opened. The land is still used for sport today, half by Blythe Cricket Club, half by Draycott Sports Centre
1936 : Blythe Colour Works Limited established as public company. All directors initially were Wildblood family members.
1936-37 : Local builder Harry Mountford (the father of the late Cresswell stalwart Neville Mountford) built a row of homes on the western side of Sandon Road, opposite the Colour Works (each home cost £325 in those days!). Blythe Colours bought the first four in the row: Arthur Bennett (works engineer) took the second house, and Oswald (Ozzie) Vavasour the third (Ozzie’s son Hugh became the sales director; Hugh and his wife Monique are buried at St Mary’s in Cresswell).
1938 : New office block built – which can still be seen on the business park today (at the side of the bowling green)
1943-44 : As part of the war effort, American military units specialising in chemical processing were permitted use of the company’s laboratories and laundry. The soldiers lived in huts on Camp Bolero (which is now Rookery Crescent).  Click here for more on that story.
1955 : Laboratory Block and Showroom opened.
1963 : Johnson Matthey bought Blythe Colours.
1979 : A new canteen was built (now the Quick Quick Slow Dance Studio)
1992 : The ‘Blythe Colours’ name was discontinued; new name was ‘Johnson Matthey Colour and Print Division’.
1994 : Formation of Cookson Matthey Ceramics, a 50:50 joint venture between Johnson Matthey plc and Cookson Group plc. Some manufacturing moved from Cresswell to Meir. However, the Fusible Colour (enamel) Department remained at Cresswell until near to the final closure of the works.
2014 : Closure of the Johnson Matthey business at Cresswell.
2016 : The Cheadle History Group and a few Cresswell residents join forces to persuade Johnson Matthey to donate the Colour Works archive (of more than 700 items) to the local community – and are successful. The archive is now housed in Blythe Bridge Library, where it is accessible to researchers, who should contact Cheadle Discovery Group for details about access at contact@discovercheadle.co.uk.  (See full story of the archive by clicking here.)

Well, we hope you enjoyed this potted history, but – can you add any information? (Corrections are also welcome!). Please email us if you have anything to add.

More info

For further information about the Blythe Colours Memories project, click to see hundreds of photographs from down the years, as well as a checklist of nearly everyone who worked here.
For further information about the Cheadle Discovery Group, a local history society which runs the Blythe Colours History project, please click here.
There is also a public Blythe Works Memories Facebook group for anyone interested in the old Colour Works.

***
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)

Climate-change concerns

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

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

Click here to read Climate change, flooding and Cresswell

Field (Sandon Close in background)

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

Climate change speeding up

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

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

Moorlands Local Plan … thoughts

So… at last, we have the ‘preferred’ Local Plan proposals for housing, employment and traveller sites in the Moorlands region, all now brought to us by the district council after months of consultation…
Draycott and Cresswell have their fair share of the allocations, though Totmonslow is not mentioned on the list at all.

If you wish to comment on the plans, or you want to go along to some of the public meetings, all the details are at the bottom of this page.  BUT – remember, we only have six weeks from today to put comments in.

Housing allocation

The past year has been very confusing in terms of us being told what to expect.  Last summer we were told that Draycott could look forward (probably) to spaces being allocated for twenty-five new houses, but this latest version of the Plan has only designated space for ten new houses.

Draycott site allocations housing

Draycott Level. The orange site is the one preferred by SMDC for housing. Ignore the light green area – it’s the churchyard!

These, at the moment, are allocated on land behind St Mary’s Court – near The Draycott Arms. However, history societies are not entirely happy with that, as any future construction will abut the Old Rectory, a Grade 2 historic building.

Cresswell site allocations employment

This map is, basically, of the Blythe Business Park. The dark green area marks proposed business units space – but no indication of the planned housing estate!

You’ll notice of course that there is no mention of the planning permission for houses that was granted last year for a housing estate in Cresswell.  Apparently, this omission is because the permission was granted before this Local Plan from the district council was initiated.  (Eh?  Seems an odd way of going about drawing up a Plan, but there you are).
One comment that we are hearing already is that if a lot of this plan goes ahead, then we will in effect have one long ribbon development – of Draycott, Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge growing ever closer together.

Employment allocation

Well, if you check out these draft proposals, the huge Blythe Business Park extension looks to be definitely one that SMDC councillors would like to see go through.

Draycott site allocations employment

The dark green blob (on both sides of the A50 road), is the Draycott employment site ‘opportunity’. The little yellow blob, wrapped in the red blob, is one of the traveller site suggestions

The other thing that has reared its head again is the Blythe Vale employment site (also known as the Northern Gateway employment site – see Application No SMD/2011/0304). This got its basic planning permission renewed back in 2011 , but the permission has never been activated…. yet.
Because the permission has not been activated, no one is sure of what the exit route from the potential site might be. People who attended the original hearings all that long time ago say that one exit route which got some backing from the developers was down ‘Waterworks Lane’, the unmade road opposite the Izaak Walton in Cresswell. If so, the nightmare scenario would be wagons and traffic from both sides of Sandon Road coming slap up against each other.

It would be good to know what our local district councillors think about all this.  Our councillors, Mark Deaville and David Trigger, both voted for these draft ‘preferred’ options to go through.  You might want to ask them why they did that.

Travellers’ site

The news on this is very confusing.
While there are nine possible sites – scattered around the southern end of our Moorlands region – the Leek Post & Times newspaper is reporting that the site with the shortest odds on it is the one at the end of Draycott, opposite the Chandni Cottage Restaurant (at the beginning of the dual carriageway).
Meeting two weeks ago, Draycott Parish Council said it would be opposing the nomination of this site – although they will have to find some good planning reasons.
This site is, strictly speaking, just over the council border, in Forsbrook’s area.

Make your voice heard

Whether you are for, or against, or just confused (like many of us!), you’ll want to know how to ask questions and to comment.
Here’s how: —

#   You can read the documents.  They are all online – click SMDC Site Allocations Consultation -; or you can go into Blythe Bridge Library and request to see paper copies of them.
#   You can attend drop-in sessions.  SMDC has arranged a number of these for the the public to attend,   where officers will be on hand to explain matters. Our nearest ones are at:  Greatwood Community Hall in Upper Tean on Thursday 12th May (5pm – 8pm), and the Guildhall in Cheadle on Tues 17th May (5pm-8pm).
#   You can turn up to open meetings.  Forsbrook villagers have arranged an open meeting for this week – to be on Tuesday 3rd May from 7pm; and Draycott parish councillors have said they will be available for face-to-face chats on Monday 18th May from 6.45-7.15pm at the Church Hall.

#   You can just go straight ahead and write your comments anyway – which MUST be delivered by 5.00pm on Monday 13th June.
— You can fill in the online questionnaire, and send it back to the council.
— You can email – to forward.plans@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk
— You can use the old fashioned mail – send your letter to: Freepost RRLJ-XCTC-JBZK, Regeneration Manager, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek ST13 6HQ (no stamp needed)

Good luck…   let us all know what you are thinking – use this website’s Comments form, just a bit further down this page…

Advertising sign mystery tour

There has been a lot of discussion recently about advertising boards that can be found on and by pavements in our local area.  Some people think they do a useful job for local businesses; some people think they are an eyesore.
One advertising sign seemed very mysterious though, as it was totally unclear what it was about; and no-one we spoke to seemed to know!

On the main junction in Draycott (opposite Church Lane), there is a sign attached to a post there. It says in large red letters ‘CBT’.  But what is CBT?

CBT sign at Draycott junction

CBT sign at Draycott junction

We decided to follow the direction of the arrow, along into Cresswell, going on a bit of a ‘mystery tour’.  But there was no follow-up sign for nearly three hundred yards – until we reached Blythe Business Park.
The arrow on the sign then pointed into the industrial estate – but still no indication what the organisation or business was…

CBT sign at Blythe Park

CBT sign at Blythe Park

About one hundred yards in, there was another sign.  But this sign is virtually at the edge of the extent of the industrial units – and we could see no unit ahead with the ‘CBT’ initials written up on it.

CBT sign along Blythe Park main roadway

CBT sign along Blythe Park main roadway

Where was CBT? Nowhere to be found.
At last, we found somebody who was able to tell us.  “CBT is a company” said the man we saw, “that teaches people to ride motorbikes; and this is their training square here.  Riders had to negotiate round obstacles – beginners used it.”
Ah, right: so what days are the riders here?, we asked.
We go a funny look back.  “They haven’t been here for  … maybe four years…??” said the man.
Hmm.

CBT's old Blythe Park training square

CBT’s old Blythe Park training square

It’s amazing to think that these signs have remained in place all these years unquestioned.
But … what is the moral of this story?  Maybe it doesn’t matter, or does it?

***
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: break-in / public spirit / solar arrays / tidy village

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid October 2015
News of…:  thieves strike in Draycott / latest on Blythe Park application / another solar farm on the way? / police thank residents / congratulations to Fulford …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Christmas Crafts Fair. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Yet another vehicle break-in

We’ve been mentioning on this website for a while now, on and off, that there seems to be a spate of petty thieving going on locally.  The police say it’s down to small gangs of thieves driving over from Stoke-on-Trent to look for opportunities to make off with ‘portable’ items.
They seem pretty brazen too.  One resident told us he went outside his home when he heard some banging in the street, around 9pm, only to see some lads trying to force open his van! They ran off of course.

But, last night (14th October) thieves did manage to actually break into a van – parked on the owner’s drive – in Draycott Old Road, taking power-tools. Anyone with information should call the police on 101 – quoting incident number 0113.
The moral of the story is of course: if you see something suspicious going on, try to get what details you can, and phone the police.

– – –
Public-spirited

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that the police were so impressed by the public spirit of some of the residents of Draycott that they have gone on record saying how grateful they are to them.
Some local people took part in the search to find a missing person, the unfortunate Michael Heath, whose body was eventually found last week in wooded areas at back of Draycott Old Road.  Mr Heath had enjoyed camping in the area when he was alive.

The death of Mr Heath, who came from Blythe Bridge, is not being seen as suspicious.

– – –
More solar planning planned

The success of the solar-panels array at the Lower Newton Solar-Panels Complex between Totmonslow and Cresswell has led other local land-owners to consider installing them.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)

This is a photo of panels on a typical solar farm.

They use up otherwise under-developed land, create some income for the hard-pressed farmers,  provide more supply for the country’s electricity needs –  and it’s claimed they can even provide a little help in fending off climate change.
Just off Cheadle Road up at Draycott Cross, at Fields Farm, a planning application for one is under consideration at the moment.

The very latest move is a project proposed for Totmonslow; and it would be well-placed there, being close to the grid-lines that are supplied by the present one running at Newton.   However, it’s only in the early stages.

+++
Meanwhile, another planning application, the one at Blythe Business Park (Cresswell)– to build 168 homes and double the size of the industry in the hamlet – is now just over one year old.  Seems amazing to think that it was only a year ago that this giant proposal was first brought to our attention!

Cresswell proposal

Blythe Park Cresswell proposal – the planned new build is in pink – housing on the left, industry on the right. The stuff in blue is what is already there. The railway is marked by the grey line along the top of this graphic

There were over 150 letters of objection at the time, and the local community action group VVSM took that on board – and so have been stalwart ever since in opposing the development.
They are still managing to hold it off, though they could, as always, do with more support and more volunteers.  You can check the latest updates of what they are up to by clicking here.

– – –
Community-minded

There has been a lot of talk in Draycott recently about whether we should all be more community-minded.  Well, one place that really has developed its sense of community is next-door Fulford; and it’s congratulations to the residents there who have worked so hard to keep their village beautiful and tidy – and, in so doing, picked up the Mid-Staffordshire Best Kept Village Award.

The Fulford Community Group – in partnership with their own parish council there – does a grand job of maintaining a community spirit.  Well done to them on their achievement.

***
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)

Blythe Park planning decision confirmed

Well, as you might have guessed, the Staffordshire Moorlands Planning Committee did not change their minds about the Cresswell planning application (for hundreds of homes and lots more industrial units at Blythe Business Park), even at the second time. As the councillors did in February, they passed the application again by a large majority, despite the concerns expressed by so many people.  See: SMDC August 2015 Planning Meeting agenda

Well done to the local people that turned up to the meeting, and voiced their dissent though. The massive majority of residents in Cresswell don’t want the new development, so they did speak on Cresswell’s behalf.
Only three parish councillors turned up (as far as we know – please tell us if others were there), Pauline Clarke, Jacquie Leach and Mark Deaville, who voiced their opinions forcefully.
The most forceful of all however was resident Nick Holdcroft, who told a member of the planning committee (who had tried to interrupt him, while he was delivering his address) to just keep quiet and wait his turn!    Kate Bradshaw was there too, and she will be doing a report for our Draycott Parish Council, we expect.
The only speakers there in favour of the development were … the developers themselves…

It was all to no avail though, even though there were new members on the planning committee (voted in since the elections in May), and the Conservative-majority committee voted it through.   In a way they had to, because the way planning committees work is that, once the original decision is taken, the protocol is to accept the original meeting’s decision, even at a later meeting when there are new councillors.
In fact, the real business of this meeting was to agree the terms and conditions attached to the approval – and they make for interesting reading – see SMDC Blythe Park discussion agenda

What now?

Nothing is over till it’s over, as they say, and some residents say there is still a way out.

As there seems to be a vague silence from the parish council at the moment, so the local residents’ action group, VVSM, has stepped into the breach; and have called an open meeting for this Tuesday (18th August), to take place at Draycott Sports Centre at 7pm. All who are interested are welcome to attend.

VVSM will be letting residents know if they have had back any information from the Environmental Law Foundation, who have been giving advice about calling a Judicial Review (which is a formal objection to the whole decision-making process that has gone on).

VVSM, jointly with parish councillor Jacquie Leach, have also submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman about how SMDC and the Planning Committee have carried out their duties. They will be reporting back on how that is going.

Please tell anyone you know that this meeting is taking place.

***
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: proposals action / dole money / church good bye / tennis finals

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2015
News of…:  further action on housing proposals / silence on traveller question / Draycott Dole tradition returns / curate leaves St Margaret’s / Draycott men reach tennis finals
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a local Women’s Institute Open Evening.  Check out the Events page!)

– – –
Action!… from some

Understandably, many people still find it unbelievable that the SMDCouncil Planning Committee decided to go against their own experts’ advice and vote for major development in Cresswell. As it stands at the moment, the population and the industry in Cresswell will more than double in the next few years.
A video of the proceedings, taken by a member of the public, shows the debate – click here to see that video.

However, Draycott’s local community action group VVSM has not let the grass grow under their feet!
Jacquie Leach, the group’s vice-chairperson, was interviewed by the Cheadle & Tean Times, and her letter of protest featured large on the newspaper’s letters-page this week.   VVSM, it seems, are determined to continue the fight.
One councillor on SMDCouncil, Linda Malyon, has come out in vociferous support of VVSM, and she also thinks there may yet be a chance to defeat the proposal.

As to what happens next: we are not sure!
It’s now out of local hands – it won’t be re-considerd by SMDC or even Staffordshire County Council>
There was a thought that,  because it is so controversial, it would have to be considered by the Government in London, which could decide to ‘call it in’, but we now hear that that is unlikely…
VVSM have told us that a judicial review may be the only way to overturn the SMDC decision.

The chairperson of VVSM, Shelagh Wood, has called a public meeting for this Friday (13th) evening at Draycott Church Hall.  VVSM will report back on an emergency meeting they had with our MP Bill Cash.
If you feel strongly about this proposal – one way or the other – you are urged to go along, say your piece, and help to get action moving.

++

One odd thing to observe has been the relative silence of many of our local councillors on some issues.

As we reported some weeks ago, Cresswell has been earmarked as a possible location for a small traveller/gypsy site.
In Werrington, which has been similarly earmarked, the parish council has organised large meetings and action. This past week, Forsbrook Parish Council, where there are two of the other possible locations, has also organised public consultations in Blythe Bridge and set up a petition website too.
However, our own Draycott Parish Council has been quiet on the issue so far.

To see a map of the possible locations of the traveller sites, including the Cresswell one, and the ones near Draycott Level and near Totmonslow, click here.

– – –
Goodbye – and good luck

Sad to say, but as expected, the assistant priest at St Margaret’s Church, John Pretty, has now left the area.
John had only recently completed his training, but family circumstances have compelled him and his wife Angela to have to leave the place they love.

Revd John Pretty

The Revd John Pretty, at last year’s Draycott Fayre

Clearly, Angela, who was a deputy warden at the church, and John will be missed – not least because the rector, David Bickersteth, is also leaving St Margaret’s in a few weeks when he retires. The next twelve months will be a difficult one for St Margaret’s, without any clergy, as nobody has yet been chosen to replace either of them.

If you never got a chance to say our goodbyes, don’t worry.   John and Angela return for a small farewell party in three weeks time. (See St Margaret’s website for details)

– – –
It is good to receive… on Mother’s Day

Being as it is Mother’s Day next weekend, there are the usual offers flying around. The Gandhi Restaurant, at the southern end of Cresswell, is offering a six-course meal on the day for £14.99.
Well, after six courses, at least no-one will need to eat (or cook) for the rest of the day…!

Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday, as it should properly be known) is also known in Draycott-in-the-Moors for the ancient tradition of the ‘Draycott Dole’.
Five hundred years ago, the then rector of the church left enough money in his will to enable an annual gift of money to go to the needy of the parish; and the money is always given out on this day.
Of course, nowadays, the money is (usually!) immediately put back into church funds – but it’s a nice custom, and is still strictly carried out.
To find out more about The Draycott Dole, click here.

– – –
Top at tennis – even in winter

Draycott Sports Centre’s men’s tennis team is one of the most successful in Staffordshire, so they decided a few years ago to compete in the National Premier League (NPL) winter-season as well.
The good news is that this year, they have made the national finals of the league!

After playing against clubs across the Midlands – including Leicester, Derby, Sheffield and Milton Keynes – Draycott managed to make the playoffs, during which the pair of Craig Leese & Elliot Farmer defeated all-comers, to make the finals.

These finals take place in Sunderland on the 9th & 10th April.
Craig, who is also club captain, said: “The team are going to be training harder than ever to play in these matches, which will feature some players with international rankings…  Thanks so much to the other players – Elliott Farmer, Jack Redfern, Andy Cresswell, Matt Chandler and Ryan Hallam – who have brought us this far”.

Inevitably, the lads will be taking a coachload of supporters with them to Sunderland.   If you’d like to go along too, just contact the club.
If not, don’t forget you can follow the lads’ progress at the event on Draycott Sports Centre’s Twitter feed (@draycottfitness).

***
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).

Shock result over Cresswell planning

It was the outcome that nobody expected.
Despite over 170 letters of objection from local people, a stiff letter of opposition from local MP Bill Cash, and a formal objection from Draycott Parish Council – not to mention a ‘recommendation to refuse’ from the planning experts at SMDC -, the councillors on the Staffs Moorlands District Council Planning Committee today decided to support a plan to double the siz of the Blythe industrial park and build 170 new homes in Cresswell.
It was a shock result.

VVSM

In the committee room’s public gallery were just under a dozen protesters, organised by Draycott’s local community action group VVSM.
(However, despite the importance of the day, only one Draycott Parish councillor, Pauline Clarke, had turned up to this meeting; there are seven Draycott Parish councillors.   See local PCouncil votes on application).

Three of the VVSM group – Jacquie Leach, Shelagh Wood and Nick Holdcroft – stood up to speak in the public participation slot, and they all urged the councillors on the committee to understand the strength of local opposition, as well as the views of the expert planners – and thus to turn down the application.  They were followed by our local district councillor, – Colin Pearce, who also expressed his total unhappiness concerning the plans.

Cresswell proposal

Cresswell proposal – planned new build is in pink colouring. The railway is the line along the top of this graphic

Against them, In support of the plans, spoke representatives from the applicant MJ Barrett, and a spokesman from The Greenhouse People, a firm that is located on the Blythe Industrial Park, who said that the units on the park were stuffed to bursting and needed more space.

The councillors on the committee seemed to split along party lines.   Linda Malyon of the Moorlands Democratic Alliance Party and Mahfooz Ahmad of the Labour Party seemed angry that other members of the committee were going to go against local opinion.
But those councillors in favour of the application – especially Councillors Jim Davies and Michael Worthington – pointed out that the Moorlands area was under pressure to build more houses – and these in Cresswell fitted the bill.

Upset

Afterwards, Jacquie Leach, who lives in the centre of Cresswell, said she was stunned: “I am so upset…  I’m upset for all the VVSM supporters who worked so hard …  and I’m upset for the ordinary people of Cresswell who thought they could trust councillors. We know the local MP supported us strongly – Bill even came to our meeting …   This application just seems so unreasonable to nearly everybody!  When you think that even the council’s own planning officers recommended refusal, it’s just so hard to see what those councillors could have been thinking…  I’m bewildered!

The final vote was seven councillors for the application and four against.

Future

What next?
It seems unclear.  Can this planning committee vote be overturned by the full membership of the Staffs Moorlands Council?  Or not?

And beyond that…?  Possibly an appeal … but by whom?  And appeals can cost a deal of money.

***
Would you like 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: busy police / wildlife event / youth club issue / Christian aid

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-November 2014
News of…:  a road crash in Cresswell; arrests for drug-dealing;  wildlife information board goes up; youth worker Chrissi resigns; and the Africa aid charity which is based here …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– –
Police activity

Last weekend was a busy one for the police locally.  On Saturday, they were here in numbers after an accident outside the Izaak Walton pub saw one man arrested for drunk-driving; and then for a drugs raid which saw two young men also arrested.

In the crash, which involved two vehicles, fortunately there were only minor injuries.  However, if you go past the Izaak today you’ll see a couple of bollards have been uprooted by the force of the collision – which just goes to show how much we should count our lucky stars we weren’t in the way at the time…

The drugs raid was on an address in Rookery Crescent (at the southern end of Cresswell).  Two men, both in their mid-twenties, were arrested at the address – where some cannabis was found – and the pair , one from Cresswell and one from Draycott, were arrested for ‘possession with intent to supply’.

PC Dave Stubbs, who is our Neighbourhood Policing Officer, said help from local people was incredibly important: “Our commitment to tackling drug dealers, and those who benefit from such crime. But, we cannot continue this work without the help and support of local people; and the information they provide about crime in their community is imperative”.

As usual therefore…:  if you know something that the police might find useful, phone 101 or, if you want to be anonymous, contact the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

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Highlighting wildlife

You’d have thought that the VVSM local community group would have enough on their hands, what with raising money for a defibrillator and also organising resistance to the proposed housing development on Blythe Park.  But, they certainly like to be busy!

Another of VVSM’s long-standing projects has been to erect an information board near the bridge over the River Blithe in Cresswell, highlighting some of the wildlife to be found in the area, especially birds and small mammals.

Well, their dream has come true, and the board will be unveiled this Saturday (November 15th) by local district councillor Mark Deaville.  It’s a bit of an early start (at 9.30 in the morning) – but Jacquie and Shelagh are laying on free breakfast muffins and hot coffee to anyone who makes it to the ceremony.
Sounds a very good deal to us!!

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Youth club issue

The successful Mish-Mash Youth Club, which caters for children between 10 and 14, is under a cloud right now with the news that Chrissi Thompson, the youth worker there, has decided to leave the role.
Around two dozen children use the club, which meets every Thursday evening at Draycott Church Hall, in a project funded by the Church.

It’ll be a quite a blow to the club as Chrissi is, above all, incredibly committed to the work she has been doing with local youngsters over the last six years.  She has worked in schools, running family clubs and counselling individuals – all across the Blythe Bridge and Draycott area.
St Margaret’s, and its other church partners, is now looking for a replacement to take over from Chrissi in the New Year, but will only now be funding someone on a much more part-time basis.

In a sense, the youth club is probably safe, as it is a priority venture.  However, funding for youth projects is always under review; and an appeal for sponsors for the church’s work in this field is under way now.  If you would like to donate, contact St Margaret’s.

We wish Chrissi the best of luck in her new life.  If you see her in the street, it would be a good idea to wish her a very merry Christmas!

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Aid to Africa from … Cresswell

Talking of Christian aid, we were amazed to see that a charity that helps in Africa has a base right here in Draycott.

Krizevac Project - children's centre staff

Krizevac Project – staff

Krizevac, a Catholic aid agency working in Malawi, was recently given warehouse space at Blythe Industrial Park by Malcolm Barrett, the man who – ultimately – owns and manages the site.

Although Krizevac are based in Abbots Bromley, they say they had simply run out of storage area for all the second-hand books, bikes, computers and sewing machines that are donated to them to enable them to carry out some of their social enterprise work in Africa.

It’s amazing to find what’s on our own doorstep!

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NEWS: Opposition to plans; big house auction; Zulu expert; new sound loop

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early November 2014
News of…:  public opposition to development plans / Burger man’s other life as Zulu expert / new sound loop at St Mary’s / Bird Grove Farm up for auction …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Spirit of Opposition

Two public meetings have now taken place to discuss the new planning application for Cresswell, which could see nearly 170 extra homes come to the hamlet and a virtual doubling of the present industrial park.
Both meetings saw a virtually unanimous spirit of opposition to the proposals.

Friday’s meeting (organised by the local  VVSM community group) attracted a big name – Bill Cash, our local MP.  Bill was happy to turn up, and he voiced his support for the group.
Hundreds of pounds were also raised by the group, which will go into a fighting fund.
(If you want to join in a public online forum to make suggestions for the fighting fund, both Jacquie and Shelagh, the VVSM organisers, are both also members of the Draycott Facebook group.  Anyone can be a member of the Facebook group, and can ask whatever they want of any other member.)

Meanwhile, the Parish Council also convened a public meeting, ably chaired by district councillor Mark Deaville.
Judging by what was said, the main points of opposition to the proposals will be centred on traffic issues and concerns about areas of contaminated land.

The Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Planning Applications Committee is likely to make the crucial decision at their meeting in mid-December.
Expect a flurry of activity up until then!

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Churches in action

It’s worth remembering that it is Remembrance Sunday this weekend.  Both our local churches will have specific services (see What’s On page for details) if you want to remember our war dead with them.

Grave of Bede Vavasour

Military grave of Bede Vavasour, killed in 1942 aged just nineteen, at St Mary’s Church, showing the RAF symbol

Talking of St Mary’s – the Catholic church in Cresswell -, it’s time for congratulations to them.  The congregation has raised over £2000 so far to pay for a new sound loop recently installed in the church.  That’s only half of what is needed – but everyone at the church is confident the total will be raised.

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Local man’s Zulu Wars knowledge

Many of us know local lad Ian Barlow very well.  You may well have spotted him and his mobile catering van at the Cloggerfest free-music event in Cresswell over the summer.
Ian has a permanent pitch on the Blythe Park base (where he is now to be found right next to the bowling green) – his catering business looks after employees’ food needs by selling burgers and breakfasts every morning seven days a week, as well as lunchtimes in the week.

Anglo-Zulu War display in the National Army Museum in London

Anglo-Zulu War display in the National Army Museum in London

What you may not have realised is that Ian is a Zulu War expert!  The Zulu Wars were fought by the British and native tribes in South Africa towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Ian gives talks on the subject to discussion groups and history clubs – and even brings along historic memorabilia with him…
Who’d have thought??

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Fancy a farm?

If you’ve ever sought a large isolated property, now’s your chance.  The road down to Hilderstone has very few houses along it between Cresswell and the old Bird In Hand pub, but one of them is now coming up for auction.

Bird Grove Farm‘ is a 3 bedroom detached house, which goes under the hammer on November 12 (unless sold by private treaty first of course).  The sale is being handled by Graham Watkins Agents.
If you like a quiet life, this may be the place for you…

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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).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.