Tag Archives: blythe park business base

NEWS: Potholes / rail history / fayre plea / elections soon

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in Early Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  potholes reappear / uncovering history / help the Fayre! / stand for election … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  Check out the Events page)

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

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Return of the Potholes

Well, it hasn’t been that bad of a winter, but, even so, potholes are back.

Cresswell is really badly affected.
The most vicious pothole is at the collapsed drain-cover on the southbound bank, up to the cricket club. As it’s on a slope it’s hard to see it, until you hit it – often with a nasty crack.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell. On a slope, it can be hard to spot

Meanwhile on Sandon Road, at the point where traffic enters & exits off the business park, numerous little potholes have appeared, making the road all pitted. It’s the effect of all the HGVs coming and going off the park, of course.

Blythe Business Park potholes

Potholes on road outside Blythe Business Park in Cresswell – looks like the surface of the moon!

And it will only get worse if the developers/owners of the park get their way and planning permissions are altered to allow them to use this entry for construction wagons too. (A decision on that is expected in April).

So… drive carefully!

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Please help the Fayre

For over twenty-five years, Draycott has held a successful summer fayre.
All the work that goes into it is by local volunteers, and all the profits (which average around £5000) are ploughed back into maintaining the crumbling fabric of our ancient church of St Margaret’s.
Because we have lost our school, our shops, even our football club, there are very few occasions now when the village comes together to celebrate together – this event is virtually the last.

So – it wouldn’t be a good thing if the fayre did not happen.
But that is what is possible.

Because… a lot of the people who put in the effort year after year say they are getting on – and they now want to hand over to new blood so they can just take a rest!
One can sympathise.
Fortunately for us, John Clarke has agreed to stay on as Coordinator, so at least there is still a steady hand at the helm.

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

The Zazu dancers, who appeared at the fayre in 2009…

Can YOU help? From just looking after the car-park on the day, to selling raffle-tickets, to making phone-calls – there are a range of tasks from the small to the significant.

This Wednesday (13th Feb), there is a meeting at the church at 7.30. Why not go along, see if you like what you see, and if you do, ask what you can do…

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Rail history coming to light

Railway Cottages Lane in Cresswell is a bit off the beaten track, but a few people have been down that way recently – partly to check out Number Four (which is currently for sale) and partly to look into a planning application site there (the plans have since been turned down).
Part of that planning pre-process was the creation of a new track on the site, which, by chance, has uncovered a lovely industrial structure, part of Cresswell’s history: a rail platform for goods loading.Cresswell platform1Cresswell Railway Station, which was over 100 years old when it finally closed, was at the junction of the Stoke-Derby line and the Cheadle Branch line. It closed to passenger traffic in 1966, but stayed open for industrial traffic (carrying mainly sand from Cheadle) for another twenty years.
The uncovered structure is part of a small goods yard handling such freight.

Matthew Pointon, the historian of Draycott, thinks that he remembers that the platform was actually inside a large goods shed, which was demolished in the 80s or 90s.
The new track is private property, but you can see the platform easily because the new track is right next to the lane. Nice, isn’t it?

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Candidates required

The elections for Draycott-in-the-Moors Council are just around the corner – May in fact.
But first we need at least seven candidates to stand for election; signed nominations must be in by the beginning of April.

This year, more than one councillor on Draycott Council has spoken of standing down and not seeking re-election. Though it’s not a particularly tough role, or even requiring much to do, still, it’s a responsibility – and some of the current members have been doing it for many years, so they think it’s time to hand the baton on.

So… are YOU interested? There’s a quick run-down on whether and if you’d be eligible by clicking here. As you will see, you don’t even have to live in Draycott / Cresswell / Totmonslow to be eligible…!

The first thing to do though, if you are interested, is to make sure you are on the Electoral Register (though it doesn’t matter which county you are registered in, so long as it’s somewhere in the UK). That’s essential.
If you’re interested in the tiny ins & outs, you could attend the special meetings in Leek on Wednesday 6th March and on Tuesday 12th March, but it’s really not essential.
If you think you’d like to give it a go, contact the Draycott Council Clerk who will be able to give helpful advice.

And the best of British luck!!

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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 address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Step closer for Cresswell housing estate plans

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

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

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

Emergency meeting

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

Cresswell proposal

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

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

Shelagh Wood

Shelagh Wood

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

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

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

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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: Protest reaches govt / vicar’s farewell / changes at Arms / Tara tribute

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early April 2015
News of…:  Cresswell protesters take it to the government / Draycott Arms changes / Tara is a Sports Personality! / our vicar prepares his farewells
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including the QQS Anniversary Ball. Check out the Events page)

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Cresswell protesters take it to the top

Well, despite the Easter holiday, the fight against the Cresswell planning application goes on – and now it’s reaching government level.

Although the planning application – to more than double the size of Cresswell’s housing and industrial units – was approved by Staffordshire Moorlands Council, the VVSM local community action group have once again been burning the midnight oil to try to stop, or at least, delay, the plans being implemented.
The new update from them is a plea to ask anyone who objected to the proposals to get behind their latest project: a direct appeal to the government.   You can read all about what they are trying to do and support them by clicking here.

VVSM document

The hundred-page document of objection drawn up by VVSM – but did all the councillors even look at it?

The more one looks into this matter, the odder things seem to get.
There is now quite a strong suspicion that some councillors on the planning committee (the one that made the decision) did not receive or even see the objections-document drawn up by VVSM.  The document spells out in detail the grounds for objection.

And it now seems that other rural districts in the Moorlands are (quite rightly) getting fearful after this decision – because, by approving this application, the committee has set a precedent, enabling the committee to ignore the so-called Moorlands Core Strategy, the very policy that protects many local small villages from inappropriate development.

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So long, Rector David….

It’s always a sad day when a well-liked neighbour leaves the area, but it is perhaps doubly sad when that figure is a well-respected local vicar.  After eight years here, Rector David Bickersteth is finally retiring from his role as a parish clergyman; and he and his wife Gillian will be moving back to his native Cumbria.

David and Gillian Bickersteth

David and Gillian Bickersteth

The Reverend David’s last duty at St Margaret’s Church will be to conduct the 8am service this Sunday (12th April), but he will then rush over to St Peter’s in Blythe Bridge to hold the 10am service, after which there will be a farewell event there.
We have found David to be nothing but open, trusting and welcoming.  We wish him the best in his retirement.

No successor has been appointed yet, though the vacancy is being advertised already.

– – –
All change at The Arms

By coincidence, another established local figure is also taking a new direction in life.

As you may have noticed the Draycott Arms closed recently, but this is a temporary situation while the new owners get themselves moved in.
John Ford, the landlord & owner, decided that it was time for him and wife Deryn to return properly to their main business, the running of their farm, Cairneycroft.  Many of us have tasted the excellent beef that comes off Cairneycroft – as it was on the menu at the Arms!

John Ford at Draycott Arms

John Ford behind the bar at The Draycott Arms. Notice the Crusader Ale beer-pump…

Although John & Deryn have left the pub, you can still thank them for their work by using their Facebook site.  John told us that buying and refurbishing the Draycott Arms in 2012 was always, for him, a form of giving-back to his community.  The pub had been shut for two years when he took it over and some of us had feared it would not open again.  So…  in that sense… job done!
Thanks to them both…

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Congratulations Tara

One interesting thing about all the people we’ve mentioned so far – the VVSM committee, David Bickersteth and John Ford – is that they have been tireless in caring for their community.
But even they may admit that Tara Burndred has the energy of ten!

Tara founded and now runs the Tatsu Kai Dojo martial-arts and exercise centre in Cresswell, and rarely a week goes past where she is not announcing some new venture.
So, to us, it’s not surprising that the her work at the dojo has seen her listed for a Sentinel Newspaper Sports Personality Award in the sport in the community section…
Well deserved, we say!

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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).

Cresswell housing proposals timetable takes shape

It looks like a timetable is falling into shape concerning the development proposals for Cresswell.
Two public meetings are now planned over the next seven days; we have a likely date for the crucial decision meeting; and, what’s more, the local MP has stepped into the debate, with some very strong views.

The application is for 168 homes and almost 35,000 sq ft of new industrial units, all on fields by the present Blythe Park industrial base.

Cresswell development parameter drawing

The green shape is the proposed new homes; the blue shape is the proposed new industrial base; the grey shapes in-between are the present Blythe Park industrial units; the red line on the left is Sandon Road. The railway line runs along the top end.

The timeline now looks something like this:
Friday 31 October, 7pm, at Draycott Church Hall : an open meeting organised by Cresswell residents (through the VVSM community group) with the intention of forming an action plan
Monday 3 November, 7.30pm, at Draycott Church Hall : a public meeting organised by Draycott Parish Council at which the views and feedback of all can be expressed
Monday 17 November, 7.30pm at Draycott Church Hall : monthly meeting of Draycott Parish Council, at which the housing application will be voted on by councillors. Their recommendation (whatever it is) will then be passed up the line to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
Friday 28 November: last day for comments from the general public (which must be submitted in writing or online) about the application
Thursday 18 December, at Leek: this is the likely (but not confirmed) date for the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Planning Applications Committee (where they must also take Draycott PC’s view into account).  This is the crucial meeting.
The process is not finished at this point, but it does then become unpredictable.

Taking action

Certainly the local  VVSM community group has not been slow to get mobilised.  Jacquie Leach tells us the application is so huge that she has had to print out thousands of pages off the internet just to make sure she has all the details on paper!
She also tells that she met up last week with Paul Hurdus, a Staffordshire County Council Highways officer. Traffic flows, which Scentarea, the applicants, estimate will be 100 HGV movements a day, may well be a point of controversy as time goes by.

However, discussion about the application cannot just be over whether the proposal will be good for Cresswell (and there are quite a few who think it will) or bad for Cresswell.
The only views that the SMDC committee will take into account must be ones, they say, based on solid planning reasons.

Jacquie said to us: “We are used to this. When we fought the gas power-station proposals (on the same site!) a few years ago, we researched the planning laws, and made sure we presented our case along planning lines.  It’s the only way that they will listen to you.”
As part of VVSM’s meeting this Friday (Oct 31st), residents will be shown exactly in what form they should make their views known to make sure they are heard.

Bill Cash speaks….

One man has already pretty much made up his mind – our local MP Bill Cash.

He issued this statement last week, outlining a few planning reasons in his rejection of the proposals…
“Just as I successfully opposed the proposals for the Blythe Park natural gas-fired power station on land next to Blythe Park Business Park at Draycott-in-the-Moors, along with local residents a few years ago, so I will oppose these housing proposals.

“I have grave concerns over the infrastructure which is required for the proposed housing, as Cresswell is a small hamlet which simply cannot absorb the proposed development.
“The infrastructure is not in place to enable the housing and the associated traffic that comes with 168 homes, let alone the construction traffic travelling to and from the park.

“In terms of local schooling, there are not the schools and school places available in Fulford or Blythe Bridge for the children in those proposed developments to attend, and that needs full consideration.
“My constituents already have traffic congestion at the point where traffic reaches a junction from Sandon Road on to Uttoxeter Road.

“Furthermore, there have been several concerns raised about contamination in the past in this particular area which is well known by local residents. On that matter, it is notable there are conflicting reports, just as there were when flood reports were drawn up for the proposed power station plans.
“I also have concerns for Biodiversity Action Plan Species which are present; and mitigation measures to move those species are simply unacceptable.”

Comment

Clearly, it will be a busy few weeks!
However, if you are ready already to make your views known, just click on the ‘Comment’ button on the application page, or post your views in a letter to the Development Control Team at SMDC headquarters in Leek.

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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).

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.

Fire at Blythe Business Park was “deliberate”

UPDATE (Friday 17th, 1pm):  Fire confirmed by Fire Service as having been started deliberately.

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Fire officers are looking into the causes of the fire that broke out on Wednesday night (15th August) on Blythe Park  Business Base here in Draycott in the Moors.

Blythe Park fire

Fire officers were on the scene quickly

A local resident, who saw the light of the fires shortly after 9pm, was able to take these photos at the scene and transfer them to this website.  In the glow of the fire you can see the fire officers, in high visibility jackets, attempting to douse the flames.
See map of the area where the fire broke out.

Another local resident told us that the plume of dark smoke that reached into the night sky was huge, and caused even householders at the eastern end of Cresswell Old Lane, half a mile away, to have to shut their windows because of the acrid particles and smell.
He told us that it seemed the the Fire Service were unable to put out the fire for some time, and had to use a high-pressure pump to take some water from the nearby River Blithe.
The fire was still going at midnight; after finally damping it down, fire officers returned in the morning (16th August).

Blythe Park fire

The blaze was intense

In the darkness, it wasn’t clear what had happened, but another resident who had been on the scene earlier said the fire centred on what looked to be a large pile of rubbish at the further end of the park. The pile semed to include rubber materials.
A spokesperson for the Fire Service told us today: “The fire involved a bonfire, approx. 20m by 20m in size, that was deliberately started”.

Blythe Park fire

A fire engine at the incident

Whether the fire was set as an attempt to clear old rubbish or as having a more arsonist intent is not yet clear.
The latest updates on the incident can be found on the Staffordshire Fire Service website news pages.

The Blythe Park Business Base on Sandon Lane (Cresswell) is the former site of the Blythe Colours Works owned by the Johnson Matthey chemicals company.
The site is now home to some fifty companies, in a number of industrial units, who specialise in businesses from engineering to paint manufacturing.

If you have any information you can add, please contact Staffordshire Crimestoppers (you can make a comment anonymously if you wish), or phone Staffordshire Fire Service (08451 221155) or leave a thought in the Comments Box below.