Tag Archives: Blythe Park development

NEWS: crash inquest / verge parking / register your vote / Sandon Rd spat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early March 2019
In this post we have news of…:  inquest results for road crash / parking on verges to be illegal? / are you registered to vote? / Sandon Road planning spat… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including choir concert…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & 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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Fatalities were avoidable

So, at last, we know something of the circumstances which led to the sad death of Becky Smith and her child Corey. The two died in a road accident on Draycott level last August, but the coroner’s inquest has only just taken place.
It is a very sad story indeed, as it indicates that these deaths were probably quite avoidable.Draycott Road accident Aug 2018
According to witnesses to the court, including the one child survivor of the accident, Becky was ‘foaming and shaking at the wheel’. This means that she was probably suffering an epileptic fit as she was driving. In fact, Becky had indeed been diagnosed epileptic – but she had not informed the DVLA; and ‘active’ epileptics are not allowed a driving licence.
Investigators revealed that the toddlers in the car were not using booster seats.
And medical evidence revealed Becky was over the driving limit for cannabis.

A sad list of three avoidable factors… which just go to show that the rules are there for a reason.
Thank goodness that the driver of the other vehicle in the crash was not badly hurt.

One silver lining to this terrible dark cloud is that the accident was not caused by speeding, as many residents had feared.
In fact, we now know that two out of the three fatal accidents in the last year in Draycott were actually down to other reasons, not speeding.
The third fatality, that of motorcyclist Martin Barker in January, has yet to come before an inquest.

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Ready for the elections?

If you want to take part in the forthcoming Draycott Village Council elections, you must ensure you are registered to vote within the next weeks.

There are very few qualifying conditions to get a vote, so don’t let that put you off.

If you can’t remember if you are already registered, you will have to go to a local office and check the electoral register.
If it turns out that you are not already registered, it’s very easy to register in time. Click here to learn more about how to do it.

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Parking on pavements – for and against….

An interesting post & photo appeared recently on the village Facebook page which read:
“Can I ask that whoever keeps parking on the pavement on Uttox Rd looks at this photo and realises that Pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and those with mobility aids cannot get past due to the car parked on the pavement and the car behind it.”verge parking pn Uttoxeter Rd
The problem of parking on pavements/verges in Draycott is not a new one.

Over four years ago, Draycott village council was dealing with complaints from motorists trying to pull out from side-roads (e.g. Stuart Avenue) who were finding it difficult, as verge-parked cars were blocking their line of sight.
But the council simply followed the legal line: “…it is not illegal to park on verges though it is illegal to obscure the vision of other vehicles. Residents are advised to call the police when this is the case”.
But there is also the fact that the grass verges were designed to be part of the attractive presentation of the village; and a run of churned-up, muddy verges goes against that vision.  So the village council does need to be pro-active, not just stand back from the issue.

Since then some householders have got so fed up, they’ve applied to the Staffordshire Highways Team to have white posts installed on their verges to stop the errant verge-parkers…

White posts on Sandon Road

White posts on Sandon Road

Yet… there is after all the other side of the coin.
Some motorists do deliberately half-park on pavements in narrow side-streets, as an act of courtesy, because they are just kindly trying to make room for others – especially around the corners of bends, where it is (actually) quite considerate.
Some park on pavements & verges because they are sick of getting their wing-mirrors clipped by passing cars driving too close!
However, there is no ‘right’ by a householder to park on pavements, even ones outside their own home.

Some residents have cleverly through through this issue and re-designed the front yards of their houses as two or even three-car parking lots. This also means they get a discount on car-insurance, as all the family’s cars can be accommodated in a ‘driveway’ (driveway parking gets a discount in car insurance).

But it is a growing issue – because more and more families are owning more and more vehicles.
It is so problematic that local councils in Staffordshire are set to follow the example laid down in London, where parking on pavements or verges is strictly illegal.
(As you might guess, the British Parking Association has even launched a ‘Positive Parking’ campaign to push the idea).
Even our local council here in the Moorlands region is considering the idea.

But …. what do you think?
Have a look at the comments on this subject (just scroll further down this page), and use our Comments box there to let us hear your thoughts too.

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Construction at Blythe Park…  without the roundabout?

Never a month goes by in our district without a new planning story!
This month, we learn that the period of public consultation about the latest situation concerning the access road onto Blythe Park in Cresswell has been extended, from March 6th to March 27th. No one knows why really.
However, the extra time limit could have been given because the developers have had a bit of a slap from the Highways authority.

The developers want to forget building a promised roundabout for now, and continue to use the current access road on to the business park.
But, in responding to the developer’s application last month, Simon Haw, head of Staffordshire Highways, pointed out the lack of traffic-forecast information in this plan – meaning he was minded to object to the application.
This is not good news for the developers, so maybe they need the extra time to scramble around and get such information sorted.

In the meantime, a group of local residents have added their objections to the plan too. They have written up their feelings in a formal letter which has been submitted to the Planning Committee.
See the letter by clicking here.

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to 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: Fatality / planning revisions / handyperson wanted / 5* restaurant

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid Jan 2019
In this post we have news of…:  another death on Draycott Level / planning changes at Blythe Vale and Blythe Park / apply to be our lengthsman / Golden Keg’s achievement …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  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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Fatality on Draycott Level

It’s sad to have to report another road accident death on Draycott Level – it’s the third in the last six months.
Last Friday afternoon, Martin Barker was travelling home on his motor-bike when there was a collision with an Audi car just outside the Chandni Cottage restaurant. Martin, who is only 50, died of his injuries the next day. He will be sadly missed.
The people in the car were uninjured.
If you saw, or know, anything, of this incident please contact the police on 101, quoting incident 474 of January 11.

We won’t know the cause of the accident until the inquest is held in a few weeks’ time, but already there are calls to make that stretch of road safer. (It’s a 40mph limit through Draycott until you get to the dual carriageway, when it suddenly becomes 60).

So it’s timely that Staffordshire County Council has just granted £5000 (from its Safer Roads project) to this district; and Draycott Council is in charge of organising the spend.

Speed indication device at draycottAt the moment, our councillors want to use the money to buy at least one permanent SID (SIDs are those electronic signs which flash up your speed as you pass it – see pic) – but it’s not clear how useful a SID will be. After all, we already have lots of speed-limit signs on that stretch now, and the drivers ignore them!
Do you have alternative thoughts about how to spend the money? If you do, email the council or turn up to the next meeting, on February 11th.

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Another year, another planning application

It seems unbelievable, but when we just thought the dust would settle, slightly, up pops more hefty sets of documents to have to wade through.

In the latest twist to the Blythe Vale project, St Modwen Homes now want to revise their proposals. Instead of the 118 homes they already have approval to build, they now want a revised application – for 146 homes, i.e. to squeeze in an extra 28 homes on the same site.

As this is such a flagship project for the Moorlands Council, the chances of any objections to it being successful are almost zero – but at least this is a chance to comment again on one problematic situation, the traffic issue: namely, the exit road off the estate coming out onto the dual carriageway, by Chandni Cottage.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the proposal means an awful lot of traffic at that point (the estate itself actually will have 270 parking spaces!)
So, the thing is: what provision is there for traffic & pedestrians to exit the estate and then cross the dual carriageway, in order to get onto the road opposite into Blythe Bridge?

Exit from blythe vale

Exit from Blythe Vale on to the dual carriageway (BB Roundabout to the left). The grey area is roads that St Modwen must now be responsible for; the oblong box is the hatched area; and the dog-leg shape by it going across the dual carriageway is… what?

However, St Modwen’s diagram doesn’t give us a clear answer: there is a hatched area (i.e. one where cars cannot be stationary) but the little dog-leg shape by it has us foxed. Is it for traffic lights? Maybe.
This question has been referred to Draycott Council, and, with luck, they will have an answer for all of us by their next meeting on Feb 11th.

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Meanwhile, Cresswellians have their own bit of planning puzzlement.
As people from there will know, approval was only given for the expansion of the Blythe Business Park on condition that all the new commercial units were completed, and a completely new access road was built across the site (starting at the still-to-be-built Cresswell roundabout).
Well, the developers, MJ Barratt/Scentarea, don’t want to wait for that. They want to get the first of the units, the new Greenhouse People factory, viable as soon as possible – so they want permission to use the current access road into the site for now, and not have to build the new access road (and roundabout) just yet.
But some nearby residents are concerned about extra traffic from the new factory using the current access road, because this access road is very close to the railway crossing.
If you too have thoughts, you have until 27th March (this is a new, extended date to the original date) to comment. Click here to comment online.

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Five-star food!

One bit of good news (at last) is that a Draycott restaurant featured in the 2018 list of cleanest and best-run establishments in the county.

The Sentinel newspaper worked it all out, using Food Standards Agency data, and found out that the Golden Keg in Uttoxeter Road received a five-star food-hygiene rating last year.

Golden Keg staff had a stall at the 2018 Draycott Fayre

Congratulations to them!!

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Fancy some casual outdoor work? For money?

As readers of this website will know, many residents have not been happy for some time that Draycott Council has not made more effort to keep the district up to the mark by ensuring necessary maintenance jobs are done.

For some unclear reason, for the last five years, the council has chosen not to use its so-called ‘lengthsman’ funds & grants to pay for a handyperson – i.e. someone to ensure the upkeep of clean pavements, see to collapsing signs, do minor hedge-cutting and so on.

Pavement encroachment, dec 18

This pavement near The Draycott Arms should be able to “accommodate a buggy”, but is so overgrown that that would be impossibe. It needs clearing.

(As one cynic pointed out, it might have helped if they had actually advertised that the post was available…)

Anyway, at last, they are advertising it. Hurrah. See advert.
If you fancy putting in a few hours now and again, the council wants you.
You will have to drop them a line stating why you think you could do the job and what remuneration (per hour) you would like.
But they want to appoint someone quite quickly, so don’t hang about if you are interested.

***
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: developers’ dates / jail term / more b&b / have a hall party!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Nov 2018
In this post we have news of…: development set to heat up / jail for Draycott racist /  church hall party venue / Arms set to be an Inn …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Turkey and Tinsel Dinner Dance…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Construction to start in 2019

After years of being on tenterhooks, it now looks like it will be early next year that we will be experiencing the expected development construction round here.

As regards the Blythe Park expansion in Cresswell, the local community-action group (VVSM) did their best again to slow down the process for more appraisal, as they have successfully done in the past, but this time they could not persuade the powers-that-be.

Propsed Blythe B Park link road

Cresswell plan. The diagonal thick blue line is the railway. The red lines are the roundabout and new link road across the business park – the fat red space on the right is the new warehouse to come. The blue line is the boundary of the whole development site (pic from SMDC Planning Website)

The proposal for a roundabout & link-road & giant warehouse was passed by the Staffs Moorlands Council last week. (Check out the details here).
What this means is that 2019 will be a year of lots of traffic disruption in Cresswell while the roundabout is constructed.

Meanwhile, the other huge development in Draycott area is the one next to the A50 roundabout – the coming ‘Blythe Vale’ housing estate.
The developers in this instance, St Modwen, are so anxious to press on with starting preliminary construction works that they have put in an application to use Woodlands Lane as a temporary construction-vehicles road as soon as possible. (Woodlands Lane is the unmade road that starts by the Chandni Cottage restaurant).
If they get permission for that – (BB & Forsbrook councillors have already okayed it, but Draycott Council has not yet discussed it) – work on the site will start early next year.

So… the year 2019 will see lots of construction & lots of construction vehicles in our neighbourhood.  Sigh.

The final piece of planning news is that the application for houses to be built on the north side of the railway line in Cresswell (on Railway Cottages Lane) has been turned down.
The SMDC planning department said it would be incorrect to allow development such as this in a quiet spot such as Cresswell.  Erm… they clearly had – erm – forgotten (?) about the massive housing estate about to be built just 200 yards away!
It honestly makes you wonder if planning department’s left hand knows what the right hand is doing…

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Xmas parties anyone?

We had the pleasure of having a good look round the Draycott Church Hall the other day. The refurbishments are now all pretty much done, and it’s a credit to everyone involved.
The heating is all up to date, and new insulated fire-proof curtains keep the heat in. The kitchen, and the toilet, have been renovated and the whole interior looks bright and airy. Even the lighting has been renovated – there is bright lighting, for meetings, and low light, for parties.Draycott Church hall interiorDespite the difficulties of the access road, which has a number of potholes, the numbers of groups using the hall have increased as a result.
So… the hall is now open for even more business!

It would be an ideal venue for a family gathering (there is even a ‘secure garden’ out back for the kids to play in) and the floor is a smooth wood, ideal for a little waltzing (or more energetic styles)!
Sixty is about the maximum number it can comfortably hold, but it still looks full with just thirty. There is parking for forty cars.
If you’re looking for a ‘happy place’ for your Christmas gathering, why not check it out?
(For costs and contact details, click here).

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Beds & Breakfast galore

Congratulations to Zara and Brayn at The Draycott Arms, who heard last week that their application to create new b&b accommodation has been passed – so they are now all set to get started on the renovation…
Thus, sometime next year, The Draycott Arms (should it now be called The Draycott Inn??!) will be able to offer four B&B rooms.
Zara & Brayn are a hard-working young couple with great ambitions for this village – so we think it’s great news.

Hilltop Farm Barns signThe Draycott Arms is not far from Hilltop Farm Barns, where Nola and Bill run the other Draycott accommodation.
The farm has its large Horseshoe Cottage for hire as a self-catering holiday home; it has three bedrooms and so comfortably sleeps 6 people.
In fact, if you fancy a peek at Horseshoe, Nola & Bill are holding their annual Christmas Get-Together Morning in a few weeks’ time (see What’s On page for details). The event raises money for repairs at St Margaret’s Church, and all are welcome.

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Jail term for racist

Finally, a disturbing thought.
Some of us were quite shocked last month when a Draycott resident, Barbara Fielding-Morriss, got a one-year jail term for ‘inciting racial hatred’.  Ms Fielding Morris, who once stood for election as an MP, expressed her unpleasant views about Jews in her writings and publicity.

At first, twelve months in jail seemed an excessively harsh sentence for a 79-year old lady, whom many of us just viewed (frankly) as a bit of a crank.
But, talking about it in the local pub, it was brought home to us that words can be as dangerous as anything else, because they inspire others to do harm.
What happened was that someone at the bar reminded us that, only last month, a man with a gun had attacked a Jewish congregation in America, killing eleven people, shouting that he hated Jews.
To most of us, racism just seems barmy, so we often don’t take any racist views we hear very seriously – but, as this case demonstrates, the courts rather think we should.

***
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: Council resignation / N Plan pops up / Songs Of Praise / community police / council indifference

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2018
In this post we have news of…: resignation of council chairman, neighbourhood plan sessions, council indifference to Cresswell, police surgeries, church sing-along …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a family 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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Council resignation

Just one month after the Draycott Council’s clerk resigned, so does the council’s chairman.
Roger Holdcroft, who is highly respected, and who has hardly put a foot wrong in his time on the council over the last three years, felt he could no longer carry on in the chairman position.
So, a fortnight ago, he issued a resignation letter – which you can read by clicking here.
It all follows months of unheard-of scenes.

Roger HoldcroftAs you can read in his letter, Roger (pic, right) felt that he was being undermined by some of his fellow councillors, and even worse, was being unfairly slandered and ‘trolled’ by them or their supporters.
With that kind of atmosphere, it is clear he felt there was just too much disrespect, and that it was too unpleasant, as chairman, to be in the middle of it.
It is fair to say that some of the shenanigans that this council gets up to didn’t meet with his full approval either.
Mr Holdcroft remains an ordinary councillor though.

Oddly enough, this is the third resignation in eighteen months. In Jan 2017, another Draycott councillor resigned her seat altogether, after saying she had experienced “harassment” at the hands of other councillors.

Amazingly, there has been little or no reaction from any other councillor to the resignation, who all remained stony-faced as the letter was read out at the latest meeting of the council.

(NB — the chairman of a parish council is not its ‘leader’ or spokesperson – this is a misconception. The chairman’s role is little more than managing the council’s meetings, but is nevertheless a responsible position).

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Time for a sing-song

Is the popular BBC programme ‘Songs Of Praise’ really coming to our district?
Well, no, not really – despite the posters you will see around the place…

The fact is that one of the members of the Draycott St Margaret’s Church congregation thought it would be a lot of fun to have a localised Songs Of Praise, as a chance for the community to come together for a sing-along of favourite hymns and tunes.
We don’t get the chance these days for a good sing-song, do we?, so this should be a happy event.

You too can also get extra-involved by suggesting a favourite hymn to be sung on the day. Contact Kate on 07715 284580 if you have ideas about one.

The event takes place on Sunday 29 April at 6pm at St Peter’s in Blythe Bridge (the sister church of St Margaret’s) – and all are welcome.
But… no, the BBC won’t be there!

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Planning neighbourliness

Another call for community involvement is seen in the growing desire to put a local ‘neighbourhood plan’ into place.
After a failed attempt here in Draycott two years ago, it looks like this time the idea has a bit more steam to it: the volunteers of the working-group behind it have been given grant-money and are a bit more confident of success this time around.

(A few semi-rural areas like ours already have neighbourhood plans either established or almost established.
Nearby, both Checkley (see pic below) and Forsbrook real are well on the way to getting their plans ratified).checkley neighbourhood plan poster

Our own plan is still at the baby stage, so nothing has yet been decided – which means you still have the chance to influence it. Over the next fortnight, there will be three ‘pop-up’ open sessions, where you can go along and have a chat, and say your piece.
It’s worth putting in your penny-worth, if you are interested in the future of our district, as, once a plan is set up, local authorities and developers must (yes, must) take notice of it.
Check our What’s On page to see dates and times of these sessions.

If you really can’t make the sessions, at least fill in the form – it’s only half-a-dozen questions long – and get it back to the working-group.
Click here to see (and print off) the form.

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Getting down with the police

A few years ago, there were regular crime & order ‘community surgeries’, which our local PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) put on for us every month. It was a chance to talk about issues from dog-mess in public places (illegally left) to more serious problems such as drugs and more.
Sadly, they were discontinued when there were changes in the personnel of our local police.

However, along has come a new PCSO, Daniel Nettleton, and he has restored the sessions. Every month now, you can meet up with PCSO Nettleton at Blythe Bridge Library and chat about matters. If it’s very serious, there is even a closed room at the library for confidential chats.

Daniel is very keen to see folks, so make a note of the dates he is going to be there (though you can phone him at any time too, of course).
He’s at the library 10am-noon on 14th April, 12th May, 9th June, 14th July – and so on.
He’s a nice fellow too, and may even make you a cup of coffee!

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Council Shenanigans

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd tricks that we simply haven’t been able to keep up, so we have given the council its own little section -‘ Council Shenanigans’. If you are fed up with our council, you might want to look away, as this section will just make you feel worse…)

What’s the biggest infrastructure project prospect for our district at the moment? Yes, it’s the Cresswell Blythe-Park roundabout (which is planned to be just 100 yards from the railway crossing). It will bring significant disruption to the residents of Cresswell.

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

This artist’s impression shows the roundabout and planned houses in bright colours; and the existing buildings in lavender shades (pic: SMDC Planning website)

In fact, it has been deemed such a major set of works that the planners at Staffs Moorland Council decided they couldn’t pass it without the approval of the Planning Committee.
Then, the planning committee in turn deemed it so important that they have asked for more time to determine it, and now it won’t be discussed until May. The local MP, Bill Cash, has got involved too.
It’s a big one!
On the consultation web-page, nearly two-dozen residents (and Bill Cash) have put in their formal comments expressing their concerns.

And what has our Draycott Council done?
Erm.
Nothing.

Despite being on the list of official consultees, the council has made… no response on the consultation web-page,
When the matter was put before the councillors at their meeting in February, they made … er… no comments.

No wonder some residents of Cresswell feel this council is not taking any notice of them and is just indifferent to their problems.

***
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: burglary / help for poor / pollution report … and more

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-February 2018
In this post we have news of…: restaurant burglary / local firm helps poorest / pollution report / summer fayre progress / un-open Forsbrook…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a pop-jazz band evening…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Chandni burglary

There have still been no arrests (at the time of writing) concerning the Chandni Cottage Restaurant burglary which took place two weeks ago (Feb 5th). A well-organised group of thieves broke into the restaurant, at the eastern end of Draycott, in the dead of night.
They smashed in a window at the back; and stole equipment, goods and some cash – causing around £10,000 worth of losses. They even took the charity tin.Chandni Cottage

The thieves managed to get away with some hefty pieces of kitchenware, which makes police think that they must have had a van, and been properly prepared, being as it was such a difficult operation.
The same gang may have even been behind some similar incidents across the area.

The thieves were pretty brazen, but let’s hope they made some mistake which will lead eventually to arrests. If you think you may know anything, there is a confidential police hotline – call 101 and mention “incident number 587”.
It’s been really distressing for the owner, Yasmeen Yacqub, but we are happy to say that she has since said she won’t be cowed, and will carry on whatever!

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New Haden generosity

If the reports from the Cheadle Food Bank are anything to go by, the situation for the poorest in our community is getting worse and worse. Requests to them for emergency supplies have risen 30% on the same time last year.
The food bank hands out tinned and non-perishable goods to those who turn up to its drop-in sessions. The Cheadle group serves not just people from the town but the surrounding villages, such as Draycott.

However, the food bank organisers rely on people like us to keep a supply of goods going, so, because of the rise in need, they have launched an extra appeal for funds, this time specifically aimed at businesses.
We are pleased to say that the first firm to respond positively is one from our small district – New Haden Pumps in Draycott Cross Road, which has stepped in to donate £150. Well done to them.

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The fun of the fayre

It’s already that time of year again, and the Draycott Fayre organisers have already started booking acts for the event, which returns in July.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

Parish councillor Pauline Clarke shows the 25 Years of Draycott Fayre banner last year

But now comes the nitty-gritty bit – who is doing what? …from hawking round posters to taking money on the gate.
The first meeting to discuss such matters takes place on March 2nd. Can you get along, and offer your services or thoughts?
Everyone who works putting the day together is a volunteer, from top to bottom – so, no matter how small, your contribution will be valuable. All are welcome at the meeting.
For details, click here

– – –
‘Missing’ notification

You might think our own local council here in Draycott is pretty bad when it comes to sharing information with its taxpayers (and it is) but the next-door council in Forsbrook takes the prize this month.
As must happen after the death of a councillor, which happened at the beginning of this year, a vacancy must be announced so that members of the public can put themselves forward for the post.
(In fact, some people in Draycott would have been eligible, as the locality rule means that residents for a few miles round are also able to stand).

So we watched the Forsbrook Council’s website, and we watched the council’s Facebook page. And we waited and waited. Nothing.
However, it then turned out that there was a notice after all – a piece of paper pinned to the council notice boards… but by then it was too late for us.

Forsbrook broke no rules in doing this, but, judging by this, they aren’t great fans of openness in local government, apparently preferring to keep such information under the radar, instead of trying to get the information out far and wide to as many people as possible.
So… who now gets to decide who will be the new, incoming councillor? Well…the councillors, of course!   They will now look for someone they themselves approve of, and ‘co-opt’ them.

– – –
Pollution report

As required by law, the developers who are soon to be building a housing estate and factories in Cresswell had to commission a report examining the state of the land on which they are about to build.
(The report, which must be carried out by a reputable land-analysis firm, looks for contaminants, floods risk etc.)
Well, the report has just been published. It is very lengthy and you probably need a degree to understand it fully, but it is important.

The local community-action group, VVSM, have been through the report and done their own review, breaking it down into simpler language. The review (click here to check it out), which also has links to the details of the report, is worth five minutes of any local resident’s reading time.

The biggest result is that the report’s authors admit finding contaminants in the soil, though they personally do not think there is enough there to halt the building. What they do recommend however is that a thick layer of fresh top-soil should be placed on the fields to act as a ‘buffer’ between the incoming residents and any nasty stuff down below.
The report’s authors admit too that there are simply locations across the site where they don’t know what will be found – until the digging starts. In fact, they recommend that construction workers, who will be moving in soon, wear protective clothing.

It’s all a bit worrying. The VVSM folk point out that, when cadmium in the earth is disturbed, it often just floats into the air; and, yes, cadmium is believed to be buried there somewhere.
In the end, the people of Cresswell (and the incoming residents of the planned estates) must rely on two things – the honesty of the construction firm which is honour-bound to report any unexpected finds, and the diligence of the local authority’s environment officers, who are supposed to monitor the excavations.  Erm, fingers crossed, eh?

***
This post has been edited since being originally published.

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: roundabout details / Izaak price cut / new space for hire / rail petition

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-January 2018
In this post we have news of…: details of new Cresswell roundabout / Blythe CC hub price-list / petition to improve rail line / discount in Izaak pub cost ……
(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

– – –
‘Cresswell Circle’

Detailed plans are now in for the large new roundabout which is to be built in the middle of Cresswell. The roundabout will service the new housing estate & expansion of the adjacent industrial site.

All the measurements are listed on the plans, and it looks like the roundabout will be some 25m across – about half the width of a football pitch – with a grass mound in the middle. Basically it will be built on the field behind the present lay-by; and the current length of Sandon Road opposite the lay-by will be re-worked, as a residents’-only access frontage.

Cresswell Roundabout details

All of us have just over a month left to look over the plans and to comment on them. Click here to get a better close-up of the plans, and click here to make your comments (by March 7th).
If the plans get the full go-ahead (which is very probable), we should see the work starting around Easter-time – so start to expect traffic delays about then…

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

This artist’s impression shows the roundabout and planned houses in bright colours; and the existing buildings in dark shades (pic: SMDC Planning website)

What’s interesting is that the construction-works this year will also include the new central roadway through the whole Blythe Park development – at the far end of which (on a virgin plot beyond the current industrial park) will also be being built a large new factory-warehouse for a garden-furniture company.

– – –
Community hub open for business

Better late than never, the price list for the hire of the new pavilion at Blythe Cricket Club (in Cresswell) is finally with us – and the prices aren’t bad at all.

In front of the new hub: Austin Knott (club secretary), Brian Lawton (cricket league chairman), Alison Grimley (chair of the club's Lottery Bid), Simon Owen (club chairman)

All smiles in front of the new community hub

If you remember, the brand-new facilities at the club opened at the end of last summer to great fanfare – in large measure, thanks to a huge £500,000 grant from  the Big Lottery Fund. Part of the club’s deal with the Lottery was that the ‘hub’, as it’s known, must be open for use by the surrounding community too.
The new-build includes new changing-rooms, updated toilets and baby-changing facilities – but, most importantly, as far as local residents are concerned, there is a shiny new large space (and bar) which is available for hire to the public.
And the prices are OK (well, we think so) – £50 for a half-day (not including bar & bartender). Check them out for yourself – see the official Blythe Community Hub – price list.

It’s an irony of the way that things go in the modern world that we have now have four community spaces for hire in our district (the village hall, the Cresswell dojo, the sports centre and now the cricket club), as well as – sometime in the next few years -, another one which will come as part of the forthcoming Blythe Park Housing Estate.
So, we have a plethora of ‘community hubs’ – but not even a little local shop!!   Oh well.

– – –
Railway petition

Once all the new building developments are completed over the next five years, Draycott-Cresswell is going to start snarling up with lots more traffic – the amount of cars owned by Cresswell households alone is set to double.

It’d be nice to think then that the railway service into Stoke or Derby (from the rail station at Blythe Bridge) is an option for more comfortable travel. But, as anyone who travels the line at peak time will know, the carriage/s (yes, often there is just one coach!) is absolutely jam-packed. Not pleasant.

So the MP for Stoke South, Jack Brereton, initiated an online petition in early December, in which he called on the government’s railways minister to force the local operating company to renew the rolling stock and improve the service.

Trouble is that poor old Jack has only got 45 supporters so far. Oh well.

– – –
Izaak reduced

By the way, still no word on what is likely to happen to the Izaak Walton Pub in Cresswell. When it closed in last year there were quickly rumours that a small resto-pub chain was interested, and there were high hopes that the old place would open again soon.

Izaak walton Inn new sign

Seems like those hopes were dashed, and the caretakers have had to stay on ever since – though the asking price has been reduced, down to £325,000.
The whole pub-hospitality business is a very difficult one at the moment, but it certainly would be good to see some sort of future for a place that is so iconic of the whole village.

***
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: repairs / illegal planter / lots of industry / river trouble

In this post we have news of…: volunteers do self-help repairs / illegal planter / industrial hubs dumped in Draycott / River Blithe in trouble …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a harvest supper. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Doing it for themselves

Well done to those folk who have recently decided not to wait for whatever authorities to act, but to get out and fix some local street items themselves. According to a correspondent on the local Facebook page, it was all done by “community-minded” residents.

So… one of the parish council notice boards – the one on Draycott Level which was kicked over some time at the beginning of last month – now stands again! Its legs are a little shorter now, but as they are buried up to their top in soil, no one notices.
The torn felting on top of the Cresswell bus-shelter roof has been waiting a little longer for repairs, some six months or more, but it too has had a repair in the past week and now has a lovely new covering tacked on to it.

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The government is very much saying that local people must now volunteer to get out there and fix things in their communities themselves if they want them done – and it looks like someone is taking that advice to heart.

– – –
Illegal weeds

One little job that, sadly, hasn’t been done by the authorities is the removal of the old planter (on our main junction, of Uttoxeter Rd and Cresswell Lane). A year ago, Draycott Parish Council promised to remove this eyesore, which has broken legs and is full of weeds, but so far they seem unable to locate a man & van to do it.Planter Draycott Junction

It further turns out, as the council’s clerk revealed at the last meeting, that it is probably illegally sited. It seems that you can’t just plonk a planter down in a public space – you need permission, and a licence to say you have permission. (Who knew?)

Maybe the news that it is an illegal will hurry along said removal.

– – –
Pity the poor Blithe

We had an interesting email from Nigel Peake the other week. There are probably very few people who know this village as well as Nigel, and he says that in all his days he has never been so concerned about the river.
He wrote:  “Sit on the bridge and watch the river go by??! A joke!!!! The river is virtually weed bound, hardly any river to see. I’ve mentioned this to a Parish councillor in the past, and as usual, naff all done. I was born and bred in Cresswell, and I’ve honestly NEVER seen the river in such poor condition.”

The River Blithe runs into Draycott from Blythe Bridge, before going on to Tittesworth reservoir and eventually meeting the Trent at King’s Bromley near Rugeley. It’s quite a significant river, and is the real reason that Blythe Colours settled here over a hundred years ago.

Nigel is right of course. It’s partly the invasion of Himalayan balsam – the weed that spreads like wildfire – which is choking the river, and partly the constant need to keep de-silting the water-course, which isn’t happening.

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Even the tributary into it, which runs from The Hunter pub through Paynsley fields and meets the main Blithe at the Blythe Business Base, is virtually invisible right now.
Further up, near to Wastegate Farm/The Hunter, the landowner is even now putting in extra drainage pipes, presumably to help it along.

Anyone got any ideas on how to save the Blithe?

– – –
Bringing industry to Draycott

The chance to comment on the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s ‘Local Plan – Preferred Options 2017’ has now passed. The results of the feedback should be known in the New Year, but we already know that many of the comments were deeply unfavourable.

Residents in both Draycott and Cresswell felt a bit frustrated that any comment by them objecting to the Blythe Park expansion, or to the Blythe Vale development, would be ignored – as the approval for both has already been passed, and the Local Plan only looks at future scenarios.

But, surprisingly, there was a mention of the developments in the council’s documents. They figure in the section on the council’s industrial strategy policy: –

•   8.26          Note that: no rural employment allocations are proposed … given that in May 2016 the Council granted outline approval for a major residential and industrial scheme in the countryside at Cresswell (Blythe Park expansion) covering approx 8.58ha of employment land.  This satisfies the District’s residual employment land requirement for 2016-2031.
And –

Note that: the 48.5ha allocation of land at Blythe Vale (Policy DSR1) for mixed uses responds to a special regional requirement for high quality, employment development independent of the general employment land requirements for the District set out in Policy E2.

In other words, ALL the region’s industrial development, for rural areas, for the next 15 years is allocated to … Cresswell & Draycott !

So, expect the fields along the ridge overlooking Uttoxeter Road to be changing over the next few years – from quiet arable land to widespread warehousing and more.
And none of our political representatives, from local level to Parliament, seem that bothered.

***
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’s ancient ‘water-meadows’

Things seem to have gone a bit quiet on the Cresswell Blythe-Park expansion plans – in which 170 new homes will be built in the village and the current industrial park will also double in size. However we are pretty sure that, behind the scenes, both the developers and the community group which opposes the plans, VVSM, continue to work away.

One thing that has come to light in all this is that the expansion of the industrial site will take place on top of some of Cresswell’s ancient ‘water meadows’, that are probably centuries-old.  The developers’ own researches indicate that these are the major heritage legacy that could be disturbed by the new build.

Water meadows

Water meadows’ are the areas of land that used to be flooded deliberately in the old days: to force early growth of grass in the spring; to improve the quality of the grass sward; and to increase the summer hay crop.
But drowning the land in this way can also kill the grass, so landowners cleverly used sluices and ridges & channels to keep the water moving and oxygenated, so preserving the grass.

In fact, Staffordshire’s water meadows may be some of the earliest in the West Midlands. (Systems around Uttoxeter used stone work for sluices and culverts, which just shows how old they are – perhaps 500 years old).

Cresswell water meadows ditches plus fills

Known old drainage systems of ditches and fills on the Cresswell river meadows . ‘A’ is where the new industrial expansion is planned to go

Cresswell’s old water meadows follow the line of the Blithe River, which makes sense, because these particular fields needed the extra source of water.
Older people in this area will also tell you that the wet fields just north of the railway line, near St Mary’s Church, were famous for their abundant crop of water-cress, thus giving the village its name of Cresswell.

Cresswell water meadows

Blue area shows the area along the River Blithe that was flooded for the old water meadows. It stretches from the Izaak Walton pub (top left) down to Paynsley, going right through the Blythe Park base

Sadly, Cresswell’s wet-fields seem to have suffered the general fate of most other water meadows in the UK. They were probably churned over and flattened around 100-150 years ago to enable modern farming practices to take place.

The amazingly fast disappearance of water meadows in Britain since the 1930s has not been good for wildlife. Old water meadows – with their open undulating grassland interspersed with derelict wet channels – support many threatened species of plant life and mammals, such as the water vole.

Artefacts?

The question is: are there still centuries-old remains – e.g. old drainage systems – beneath the surface?
According to the ‘Staffordshire Historic Environment Record’ the site (labelled 53250) is declared an “area of post-medieval water meadows” – and indeed a series of straight drains is recorded on current mapping of this area (see map).

The HER report goes on to wonder if any associated earthworks remain.  The HER’s guess is that they don’t, because they were likely ploughed over. However, it is only a guess – because no archaeological surveys, on the ground, have actually taken place….

Of course, the developers, as part of the planning permission process, do have to commission an archaeolgical  survey – but, at this stage, it’s not clear how thorough that survey has to be.
It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next few months.

As you can tell (!), we are not experts, so we’d appreciate any input.  If you can contribute to this article, we’d be very grateful!  Please leave a comment in the comments box below, or email us.

==
References
Conserving Historic Water Meadows
Staffordshire’s Historic Environment Record
Staffordshire Historic Environment Record via Heritage Gateway

NEWS: new cllr / Church Lane end? / traffic lights / new shop?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early April 2017
In this post we have news of…:  new councillor for Draycott / Church Lane project stumped / disappearing traffic lights  / a shop for Draycott?…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cabaret evening of ballroom-dancing – c
heck out the Events page).
For daily updates about life in our district, check the village Facebook page.
To receive an email each time there is a new post on this site, click the
Follow button (see right)

– – –
Welcome councillor

Pat McLaughlinCongratulations to the newest member of Draycott Council.
Patricia McLaughlin (see photo, right), a chartered surveyor who lives at the Blythe end of Draycott Level, was voted in by a landslide on Thursday (6th) evening in the local council by-election.  She was voted in with 98 votes, compared to her opponent’s 52 votes. She becomes one of Draycott Council’s seven members.
Our commiserations to the gallant loser, Roger Leach.

Pat said in her manifesto that she will aim to unite the different parts of the district, which, as she observes, have become “disjointed”. We wish her the best of luck.

– – –
Shopping to return to Draycott?

English: Draycott-in-the-Moors Post Office. (n...There hasn’t been a shop in Draycott for many years now: though there are still fond memories of Evelyn Robinson and how she ran the old post office (see picture, right – it was adjacent the Draycott Arms), not to mention the general shop at the Blythe Bridge end of Uttoxeter Road  (near what is now The Golden Keg Restaurant & Pub).

However, Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms pub are nothing if not enterprising, and they want to establish a shop-area in what used to be the public-bar room at the pub. The room is under reconstruction at the moment, but it should be all done and dusted sometime in the summer.
Zara is now looking round for a second-hand refrigerated unit to hold the perishable goods (if you know of one, she’ll be happy to hear from you).

In the meantime, a questionnaire has gone out to most local households asking residents what they think of the idea.  If you haven’t had one, or just lost yours, just click here to see the form, print it out, fill it in… then just take it round to the pub…

– – –
Cul-de-sac for Church Lane project?

Over the past three months there has been a deal of discussion (see more…) about what to do about the awful condition of the road surface on Church Lane.  The lane is really more of a track than a road and is full of nasty potholes.
However, it’s an important thoroughfare, as it leads up to St Margaret’s Church & graveyard and to the community hall too.

At the last Draycott Council meeting however, our local councillors admitted defeat.  The project is too expensive and too-consuming for them to get involved with, it seems, and the local county-councillor, Mark Deaville, is taking on the issue instead. Mark is applying to Staffordshire County Highways to have the lane ‘adopted’.  However, he admits it’s a pretty long shot.

So what do the church authorities and the dozen-or-so residents of the lane do next?  We met one resident, Mark, who was doing a manful job patching up the potholes this week. His patches are just exactly that though, and he admits his work may not last for very long.

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It’s a difficult issue.  We suggest the wardens at St Margaret’s start a crowd-funding page to try to raise the cash for proper repairs.
Well…   Anybody got a better idea?

– – –
The case of the disappearing lights

Talking of works not getting done, does anyone know what the sudden appearance and then disappearance of some temporary traffic lights at the Uttoxeter Road-Cresswell Lane junction was all about?Traffic lightsWe were told it was going to be some preliminary work on the giant new roundabout which is going to be built there as a part of the re-development of Cresswell (see: the Roundabout Design diagram).

Maybe the developers changed their minds…?  Hmm.  Unlikely…

***
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)