Tag Archives: Blythe Vale

Development for Draycott now even bigger

Well, we didn’t expect any different did we – really?
The proposal to expand the number of houses on the forthcoming Blythe Vale/Fields development site (on Draycott level, at the roundabout ) passed the Moorlands Council Planning Committee very easily.  All the councillors on the committee voted in favour.
In fact, they loved it – because it all helps with their regional quotas…

This proposal was to expand the original number of dwellings planned for the site by a very large amount – almost 25% (meaning obviously a proportionate rise in population). Predictions are that the estate will now hold around 400 people.
This new plan squeezes in more homes on the site – meaning incidentally that even more of the new houses will be close to the A50 highway.

St Modwen Vale plan leaflet

Blythe Vale-Fields. Now up from 118 homes to 146.  The A50 is on the left in this diagram; the Draycott level road at the top

Now, you’d think all this would be controversial, and worth a deep debate, wouldn’t you?
Nope. The whole thing seemed done & dusted even before it started.
You can see for yourself: the webcast-video of the committee in action (the whole item only lasts just over 15 minutes) is online, and can be seen by clicking here and then clicking on ‘Item 7’.

No representation

You’d think too that someone from our own Draycott village council, or from next-door Forsbrook Council (it’s illogical, but they share the issues relating to this site with us), would turn up to speak about this issue at this meeting, wouldn’t you?
But… no, they didn’t.

The only person from Draycott who turned up to speak was resident Paul Meredith, who lives down the slope from the coming estate. But his comments were brushed aside.

Lack of interest

Poor Draycottians! There has been virtually no one speaking up for them. (In fact there were barely any comments on the official feedback website about these plans).
And, despite being asked for their full thoughts, Draycott Council instead had submitted a rather feeble opinion about possible traffic issues. (As it turned out, Staffordshire Highways experts thought the traffic aspect was so insignificant that they didn’t even bother submitting a comment about it).

But let’s not just criticise Draycott Council for their lack of interest.
Our local Moorlands District councillors remained silent; and Forsbrook Council (much of the site is within their boundaries) didn’t even bother with any feedback at all!

Get used to it

Including the development at Cresswell, the population of our district is about to increase by a massive 50% – yet our politicians just say… zilch.

And… not to be too depressing … there is even more housing development in the pipeline for our little area during the next ten years, even after this current phase of double-development.

All this really does show why we need to elect new, more capable councillors. The current lot may be nice people – but they just aren’t up to the job.

***
Want to comment on any of the thoughts 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: Vale?…Fields / Candidates needed / Road sign confusions / Betty is 106!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2019
In this post we have news of…:  Blythe Vale changes its name / just days left for village nominations / street names craziness! / Bessie reaches a grand old age… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a family tennis tournament…  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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Vale … to Fields

St Modwen Developers are wasting no time in getting on with the building of the new housing estate on Draycott Level (on the ridge behind Chandni Cottage restaurant).
The signs are already up; the ‘site access road’ is in action; and even the advertisements for the properties are already online.   (One odd thing: their website gives a list of the nearby schools which are among the ‘benefits’ of living here, BUT William Amory Primary has been excluded from the list, which is a bit of a surprise…)
The previous name we knew it under, ‘Blythe Vale’, has been changed to Blythe Fields.

Blythe Fields board

Flying the flag for ‘Blythe Fields’ in Draycott

So, from all that, one can guess that St Modwen clearly have no fears that the latest (revised) expansion plans they have submitted for the estate (which mean the latest version of the estate will grow to be almost the size of the one coming to Cresswell) will get the necessary planning permission… !
The proposals go before the Planning Committee at Leek next month.

_ _ _
Your Village Needs You

It’s to be hoped that we get more energetic local councillors soon – ones that are capable of dealing with these big issues in a way that our current representatives seem unable to.
And, if things go right, we may indeed get some as soon as in a few weeks, because the latest round of council elections is almost upon us.

Election promotion posterBut, for a democracy to work, ‘good & true’ people need to come forward and stand as candidates; and there are only a very few days left for people who wish to stand for election to Draycott Council to put in their nomination papers.
(Draycott Council covers Draycott, Cresswell, Draycott Cross & Totmonslow).
The Staffordshire SPCA is urging village councils to run campaigns to get candidates to come forward, and some have; already other nearby councils are energetically running such promotions, calling on their residents to come forward to stand as village councillors – next-door Checkley Council is even running a promotional video.
Sadly, even though we are so close to the deadline, Draycott Council has not yet chosen to run such a campaign. One can only wonder why.

Seven candidates are needed to stand for Draycott Village-Parish Council alone – that’s how many seats there are on the council.

So. Do you think YOU could make a difference?
If you do, print out the official documents and fill them in.
If you are not sure, read our Guide to Becoming a Draycott & Totmonslow & Cresswell councillor.
But remember – the nomination papers must be delivered (by hand) to Leek by 4pm on April 3rd… which is not long away…

_ _ _
Bessie rocks on

One person who is well-remembered for a being a great Draycott village councillor is the redoubtable Betty (aka Bessie) Hammond who served for thirty years. She has retired from the role now – which is not surprising, as she turned 106 last week!

Bessie at 106

Enjoying the birthday tributes!

Unlike her 100th Birthday party, last week’s party was a smaller affair, as Betty gets a little tireder these days than she used to, but a pub room still had to be arranged to cope with all the guests!

It’s amazing to think that, when Betty was born, in 1913, the First World War had not even started and horse transport still ruled the road…   It’s even more amazing to think of all the babies that have come into the world in her hands: she spent many years as a sort of unofficial midwife to the working people of Draycott & Cresswell.  In fact, she was tireless in her public service. Read our article – Betty Hammond’s Life-Story.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were more people like Betty?

_ _ _
Odd – and then odder

Even Betty would have been perplexed though if she had had to deal with the very odd case of the Incorrect Road-Sign that got even more incorrecter… (sorry for the bad grammar!)

Those of you with long memories will remember that back in 2013 we wondered why the road sign at one end of Cresswell Old Lane was labelled (wrongly) as Cresswell Old Road. We even wrote an article about it.

cresswell old road sign

The wrong name…

We reported the issue to Staffs Moorlands Council – but nothing was done. So, eventually, we took the problem to Draycott Council, who agreed to pass on our concerns in an official letter.

And, hey presto… soon the clever people at Leek got the sign changed.
Or.. did they?

'Caverswall old lane' new sign

Caverswall??? Should be Cresswell !

The road-name sign was changed, yes, but to say ‘Caverswall Old Lane’ … Ooops!!!!

***
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: HGV lane / balloon drops / photos needed / sad war memorial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  lane approved for HGVs / balloon drops on Cresswell / sad saga of war memorial / appeal for photographers… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a first-aid course…  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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Lane approved for construction traffic

As we suspected, the application by the St Modwen developers to use Woodlands Lane (at the furthermost west end of Draycott, by Chandni Cottage) as a ‘haulage road’ for its construction lorries was approved without a hitch by the Moorlands Planning Committee.
The lane will now see dozens of lorries going along it while the building of the new Blythe Vale estate takes place. The building phase will take about two years.
Some residents did their best to oppose the plans, but their concerns were put to one side. (See objections one, two, and three).

St Modwen haulage road application

The lane will take construction traffic while the new main access road to the estate is being built

What is odd is that these objectors got no formal support from Draycott Council. Our councillors publicly said they opposed the plans – but, strangely, these same councillors did not register a formal complaint on the relevant planning-page as they could have.

Why not?
Unbelievably… it turns out that councillors were ‘unaware’ that they could register a comment.
Really, this is not good enough. They should know that they can comment. We have a right to expect more of our council….
The current crop of members on Draycott Council are, we know, good and honest people – but they don’t seem to understand how the modern world works, or how to represent their district properly in this 21st century.

In fact, as it happens, all the current members are standing down at the forthcoming elections, which take place in May… and so it is an ideal time for fresh blood to come in.
Would YOU like to stand for election and take a place on the council? Check out this guide on how to do it.

_ _ _
Funny thing happened….

A walk in the country is usually a quiet affair… but last week some of us went for a walk along the public track behind Blythe Business Park, when we saw a balloon come drifting down to land in a nearby field.
It landed quite softly and no one was harmed, but obviously it was not a planned landing…

 

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Then slowly, in front of us, just behind the rise in the ground, the balloon just deflated…
You don’t see that too often.

_ _ _
Calling local photographers

Lydia Hooley, the Staffordshire Police’s Community Engagement Officer, has contacted us to ask if we can put out an alert to friendly photographers.

Lydia is putting together a new ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ website and is looking for photographs that represent Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow. These should be pictures of recognisably local features, such as our scenery, monuments or ‘landmarks’.

Send your snaps to nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk, and – who knows? – it could be your photo that goes on to represent Draycott and/or surrounding hamlets on the “localities page” of the new website.

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Sorry memorial project

The ongoing saga of Draycott’s WW1 Anniversary project is not a happy one.

Nearly all other parish councils across the country responded to the anniversary of the First World War Armistice 100th Anniversary last year by organising wonderful projects and creating permanent reminders of that fateful day a century ago.

Fulford War Memorial Staffs

Fulford War Memorial

For example, in next-door Fulford, the local council worked with the village community group to ensure the anniversary would be remembered for a long time, by raising over £7000 to renovate the village’s old war memorial. (see pic right)

However, here in Draycott, our council dithered.
Eventually, virtually at the last minute, one councillor got a young yew from his own garden; and the council got permission to plant it in St Margaret’s churchyard.
Unfortunately, not all the families with loved ones resting there in the churchyard had been consulted, and some disliked this ‘intrusion’ – and objected, going to the diocese authorities. (The council also hadn’t got around to ordering a plaque to explain what the plant was doing there).
And, suddenly, a few weeks ago, some vandal uprooted it and chucked it in a bin – from which it had to be rescued.

Yew tree memorial

The yew memorial is now abandoned at the far end of the churchyard

It’s a bit of an undignified tale.

Surely, Draycott councillors simply needed to get their act together well before the anniversary, and plan out a proper and fitting memorial project.
But they didn’t.

No one seems to know quite what will happen next.

***
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: 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

_ _ _
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.

_ _ _
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.

+
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!!

_ _ _
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)

Planning; planning; no-plan

We have updates about: the Blythe Vale site at eastern Draycott; the coming roundabout in Cresswell and its nearby pinch-point; a completely new application for housing in Cresswell; and the death of the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan.

Some developers are very clever… They go into a flurry of activity in the summer months, knowing that potential protesters are busy with holidays etc and that August is often a month-off for councillors and MPs.
So…. yep… lots about planning in this post!

Blythe Vale

The proposed housing estate up on the ridge, which will overlook Uttoxeter Road on Draycott Level, is a done deal and will happen, so all that’s left now is to sort out the infrastructure – the roadways, drainage etc.
Sure enough, an infrastructure application has now been submitted at SMDC’s planning offices. It seems that the roadway coming down off the ridge will emerge near the Chandni Cottage restaurant, onto that bit of dual carriageway. The developers (naturally enough) reckon it won’t affect traffic flow.

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

The Blythe Vale site – the current Draycott development is the red-ringed site on left

Conservationists will also be interested to see how the developers St Modwen) have proposed handling the newts and other wildlife on the site; and which trees they intend to remove.

If you have thoughts, you are invited to put them in, using the online comments page. You have until the 15th August.

Preliminary work on the site – surveying etc – starts this weekend.

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Cresswell roundabout

The plans for the roundabout at Cresswell seem to have hit an unknown buffer. They were supposed to go before the SMDC Planning Committee as long ago as Easter, but they keep being deferred – and no one really knows why.
One of our district councillors, Dave Trigger, gave a little talk a few weeks ago about the pros & cons of the roundabout plan, and he said he could see no particular problem with it (click here to see what Dave said) – so what’s holding the plan up?

One rumour is that the developers have not yet come up with a suitable way to help out the bat population that will be disturbed.
Another rumour is that the issue is the so-called pinch point (where the road narrows to a tight squeeze) up the hill past the Izaak. The original 2015 application promised that a pedestrian path would be installed here, but we’ve heard nothing since.
Yes, the owners of Izaak Walton Farm have now moved their wall back from the edge of the road (thus enabling a small green path alongside it for pedestrians), but, even so, a few yards of the road further up still have no pavement.

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Maybe this is the sticking point…?

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Houses by the railway?

The summer has produced its usual crop of planning applications – including one for eight houses at Cresswell.
If you know Cresswell, you’ll know the unmade road off Cresswell Old Lane that leads up to some old Victorian terraced houses (called Railway Cottages). The proposed houses would be built along this unmade lane, with the railway at their backs.

The fact is that the current Moorlands Local Plan does stipulate that Draycott & Cresswell should take another ten houses on top of the Blythe Vale and Blythe Park developments – so this application would indeed fit Local Plan requirements.
(It had been supposed that the required extra houses would eventually be built on the big field on Uttoxeter Road – the one between the church and the Draycott Arms -, but maybe not, after all).

But… there is no barrier stopping the public from going on to the line at that point.  Is this really a safe place to build homes?
If you have thoughts on this application you have until 22nd August to submit them (see the application Comments Page).

– – –
Neighbourhood Plan, not…

Our local community council, Draycott Parish Council, doesn’t inspire confidence at the best of times but it reached a new low with the collapse of its ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ process.

The government has been encouraging villages and small communities to adopt ‘neighbourhood plans’ as a way of indicating how they want their futures to be. They carry some weight in law, and it’s one way to help stop inappropriate developments.
Parish councils are responsible for watching over their adoption process.

Back in 2015, the newly-elected Draycott councillor, Jacquie Leach, put some work & effort into kick-starting an NP for Draycott on the council’s behalf (though she stepped down from the council in 2016 due to personal issues and so did not finish the work).
Since then however Draycott Council has seemed barely interested.

The council applied for a grant of £3000 last year, but the money had to be returned a few months ago – because not one penny of it had been spent…!
Just as embarrassingly, the council recently announced on its website that it would be holding a Neighbourhood Plan roadshow-stall at this year’s Draycott Fayre – but no such thing appeared.
When councillors were asked what happened – blank faces! It turned out that they had forgotten to get someone to organise it; and that none of the councillors had been particularly appointed to be responsible anyway.

(Roll on the 2019 local elections…!)

checkley neighbourhood plan poster
The worst of this is that, more than any other community in the Moorlands, Draycott has been subject to one planning development after another, and really needs the safeguards that a Neighbourhood Plan can provide.
Meanwhile other nearby councils – such as Checkley & Tean (see above pic) and Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge – are cracking on with theirs, leaving Draycott far behind.

***
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: Vol of The Year/ new homes/ farm sold/ giant pothole/ village assembly (not)

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2018
In this post we have news of…: your votes needed for Volunteer Of Year, 100-plus houses on the way, Draycott Cross’s huge pothole, ancient farm-site sold, village-assembly shambles …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cricket tournament on BH Monday…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Voting time

…no, don’t worry, it’s not our council election time (that’s next year), BUT your votes are requested please.

Nearly everybody will know John Clarke (see pic right). In the last few years he has been the go-to man for so much that happens in our village.
John ClarkeHe is best-known for the being the Chief Organiser of the Draycott Summer Fayre, which is now so successful that being organiser is almost a year-round job.
But John also does the little things too – he repairs our bus-shelters and notice-boards, delivers community newsletters, helped set up the churchyard lighting, and the like. He was the courageous fellow who climbed up into the church belfry for six months, working to restore the church’s 500-year old bells!
And he does it all for nothing.

In recognition of his work, this year John has been selected as one of the finalists in the Staffs Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Award. However, the winner is decided by public vote – so, please take the thirty seconds to vote for him.
To vote: just click on this link  (and then click the button by John’s name at the bottom of that page).
You can also vote by phone: just call 01538 381356, and leave your name and say you are voting for John Clarke (outside office hours, you’ll be diverted to Carol’s answer phone, and you can just leave your name and nominate John on that).
Anyone is allowed to vote.

Please vote – and please encourage friends, family, neighbours to vote (deadline is in just a few days – on May 31st).
The other finalists are from the Moorlands’ big towns; so for a lad from a small village like ours to win, he will need all the votes possible…

– – –
King of potholes

The county council used to have an excuse for the plethora of potholes. They said most of them were caused by unstable tarmac contracting in freezing winter conditions. Well, in a very hot Spring, that excuse looks less believable.
A really nasty pothole has appeared on Cresswell Lane leading up to the cricket club. Because of the incline, it’s hard to see it until the last minute, and we’ve seen cars swerving very late to avoid it. But this manoeuvre is crazy because you’re approaching the blind brow of a hill there…Pothole D Cross 2018
However, the king of potholes, well over six inches deep, is at Draycott Cross on the road leading up to Boundary (see pic above). It’s a nightmare because it’s on a very narrow bend; you can feel your axle crunching as you go into it. Motorists, beware.
To report a pothole, click here.

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“New village” for Draycott

As we predicted some months ago, a planning application for a local estate of over 100 homes has been given the final green light by Staffs Moorlands Council.

The developers, St Modwen, have had dibs on the land all along the ridge overlooking Draycott Level for some time; and when they decided they wanted to build houses at one end of it, it would have been a hard fight to stop them.
The new estate, which will sit in the pocket of land which has the A50 on one side and the Blythe Bridge roundabout on the other, will also have a new access road – which will come out by the Chandni Cottage restaurant.

Predictably, our Draycott Council had almost nothing to say about this,  (despite the new estate being on the parish border), but the Stunner newspaper reported  great disappointment from local residents Lee Warburton and Paul Dyke.
Paul said: “How on earth can an access road across an extremely busy carriageway, no more than a stone’s thrown from one of the city’s most dangerous accident black-spot roundabouts make any sense? Adding in the extra cars from 118 houses will only make things worse.”
Another resident, Brian Sammons said that the site was so isolated up on the ridge that it amounted to a “new village”.

St Modwen has yet to announce what building plans they have for the rest of the ridge stretching along to Cresswell. Watch this space.

– – –
Historic site sold

One of Draycott’s most interesting properties looks like it has finally been sold. High Coneygreave Farm, up on Draycott Cross near Huntley Wood, is ‘under offer’ for around £400,000. High Coneygreave FarmThe farm-site is very old, though the farmhouse itself is probably only 19th century (does any local historian know the answer?) and is in a lovely spot, with views all around. The only thing that seems to have put buyers off is all the work needed on the house.

Incidentally, the farm is on the access road to Huntley Wood Recreation Park, a private facility which is mostly used these days by ‘game-playing’ or ‘role-playing’ societies. The members of these societies use the Wood’s open spaces to enact live scenarios similar to Dungeons & Dragons etc.
So the new owners of High Coneygreave will have to get used to wizards and wonder-women passing their door!

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What’s up at Draycott Council?

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd things that we almost can’t keep up, so we have given the council its own little section)

It might be best to try and forget the last council meeting.
The council was supposed to have organised a village-assembly (when the whole village comes together, to look back on the last year and plan for the next).
Well, it was a shambles. It was so badly organised and badly advertised that only one village organisation turned up specially (John Clarke, thank goodness, gave a report on the forthcoming village Summer Fayre) and less than ten people attended.

What’s more, the acting council clerk said she wasn’t attending, and no-one had thought to go and collect the paperwork off her for the meeting, so it was all a bit confused. Sigh.

Let’s hope the councillors get their act together in time for the Council’s Annual Meeting next month, when they have to report on the council’s achievements over the last year. Hmm…

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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: car fireball / Blythe Vale go-ahead / footpaths concern / baby ballet!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid- November 2017
In this post we have news of…: car in explosion at Draycott Cross / approval for 118 new homes / footpaths consultation / ballet for babies…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including Remembrance Sunday events. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Car in fireball

Details are slowly emerging of the weekend’s horrific car-crash at Draycott Cross.
On Friday evening, two cars collided near to Field’s Farm on Cheadle Road (half a mile up from the Draycott Arms) and, minutes later, one of them started into flames.
Fortunately some other, very courageous motorists at the scene managed to drag the young woman who was driving the car out of the vehicle … but only moments before a sudden fireball explosion.
The young woman, who has not been named yet, has severe injuries to her legs and is being treated in hospital.

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A local well-known couple, Karen & Tony Buckle, were in the other car – luckily, the pair were not injured.  In fact, Tony was one of the brave rescuers who – probably – saved the young women’s life.
A full account of the incident is on the front page of The Stunner newspaper, including a dramatic photograph of the blazing car.

What’s not clear is how the accident occurred.  Although the incident took place not far from a bend, in the darkness of night-time, yet it is a clear stretch of road just there.  Modern cars rarely burst into flame, so the police are also looking into why that happened.

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Disappointment – with result, with council

Many local residents are expressing their disappointment at the result of last week’s SMDC Planning Committee decision over the Blythe Vale housing estate application.  The developers, St Modwen, got the go-ahead they were looking for (with just one vote against), so we can expect work on building the 100+ homes (behind the Chandni Cottage restaurant) to start sometime next year.
It was always going to be a tough proposal to fight, as it had the full recommendation of local planners and is part of a national scheme – both of which facts mean that it would have taken a strong team-effort to have seen it overturned.

However, there is also great disappointment about the role of Draycott parish councillors – who did almost nothing to oppose the application, even though they claimed to be fully supporting the local residents who feared it.
Not only did our own council not even put in a formal comment on the planning-application website (even though distant Checkley Council did!), none of them even turned up to speak against the application at the decision meeting  … A spokesperson later claimed that all seven councillors had busy lives, implying that this made it too hard for even one of them to get there.

The residents of this district have a right to wonder if these people should even be on the council, if their ‘busy lives’ make it too difficult for them to make some effort over what is the biggest thing to happen to Draycott for the past 25 years.  We shall see: elections are due in 2019.

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Footpath maintenance under threat

Draycott & Cresswell are fortunate in having an extensive network of miles of public footpaths.
If one uses local footpaths regularly, the science says you’ll be healthier, happier and more at peace with yourself – great for thinking-time!
However, budget cuts mean that maintenance of our paths network is declining.Footpath fingerpost at CresswellUndergrowth is nearly choking this stile at Cresswell

Staffs County Council, which is responsible for local footpath maintenance, recognises that this problem has now turned into a major issue, and has started a public consultation to see what we all think about the current state of our footpaths & bridleways – and their future. However the county’s proposals are already causing concern; the Staffordshire Area Ramblers has filed comments already, not all favourable.
If you want to take part in the consultation yourself, click here  – you have until December 25th to put in your thoughts.
We wrote up a recent article on our local footpaths – it might give you a few ideas to go on with.

The local Draycott parish council has a special responsibility for monitoring foortpaths in our district; let’s see what response they make.

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Babies get balletic

Finally, this is a sentence we never thought we’d write: “baby ballet is coming to Draycott”…     But, no, not a performance by a troupe of six-month old prima ballerinas, but … some lessons for them!

We are not exactly sure what ‘b-b’ is but babies apparently get quite a kick (or a pirouette?) out of the classes.  Children up to six years can take part.
The classes get under way in January at Draycott Sports Centre.
So, we look forward to a fully staged performance by the pupils in twenty years time!

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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: 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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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: big planning / community-hub opens / dangerous rail area / Totmonslow self-build?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-August 2017
In this post we have news of…: how Draycott is part of a national strategy / unfenced railway line / chance to build your own home / new community-hub opens on cricket ground /…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including the annual Cresswell Cloggerfest Music-Fest. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Draycott on the national planning agenda

The application to build over 100 homes at the east end of Draycott (by the A50 roundabout) seems to have caught everyone by surprise.
(It’s always a clever move by a developer to make a controversial application during the summer months as everyone’s attention is elsewhere – usually on a beach!)
Certainly our local newspapers and our local politicians seem to have made virtually no comment at all, which is both a shock and a shame, as this is a very big deal indeed.

What few of us realised is that this site, the huge so-called ‘Northern Gateway’ or ‘Blythe Vale’ site in the centre of Draycott is actually not just a local venture, but is part of a regional & national planning framework, linking major industrial centres like Stoke and Derby to the major networks.
The local community action group VVSM have been doing the research and came across a really interesting document proving this.

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It means that – once the economy picks up – this district is in line for a lot more industry and a lot more housing, and, as it’s part of a national strategy, we may not be able to do a lot about it. You have been warned…!

Anyway, at the moment, only the application for the 100+ homes is on the table. If you feel strongly about this development, you only have until 27th September to comment on the proposals. See the Blythe Vale Homes planning application by clicking here.

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Pavilion success

Happier news comes out of our local cricket club. The new pavilion/community-hub, on the Cresswell ground, is finished at last, and looks really splendid. The old pavilion had its charm, yes, but this smart new structure is the bee’s knees!
It cost over £500,000 (with help from the Lottery Fund) but it looks like it is well worth it.

An open invitation is now going out to everyone connected with the parish to come and take a look at it on Sunday 10 September (between 11am and 4pm). If you fancy going, please email the club, by this Friday, to say you’d like to be there, as it’s a matter of trying to judge numbers.

The pavilion/community-hub could turn into a major asset for the district as, apart from being a base for the cricket club, it is open for hire to local organisations – already a weekly yoga class has started up there. So, if you too run a class or such, you might want to check it out too.

If you can’t make it on the 10th, why not stroll along to see the first team’s last game of the season, on the 9th. With a bit of luck (and sunshine), the day will – hopefully – see the team crowned champions of League One… what a party that will be!!

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Open railway

For some time now, some of us have been wondering what Network Rail is up to by the Cresswell rail-crossing. A hundred yards along the main-line (in the Uttoxeter direction), the fencing that should be alongside the tracks, to stop both trespass and thoughtless kids from wandering onto the line, is simply… not there. It is completely wide-open.

An unmade road, which leads to a small group of six terraced homes (‘Railway Cottages’ by name) passes right by the unprotected area. The owners there form a small community (they get together to look after the unmade road and repair it, for instance) and have applied to Network Rail to fulfil its responsibilities, but, so far, no joy.

tidying the road to Railway Cottages

Repairing the road to Railway Cottages

If you also find this worrying, why not add your voice to the community’s, and write to Network Rail?
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Build your own home

It’s not often a chance comes up to build your own home, especially in beautiful open countryside… but this is what is on the cards right here in our parish – in Totmonslow.

Totmonslow Farm, which is no longer a full working concern, is the site of two potential conversions. A little way over from the historic old farmhouse itself, you’ll see some former farm buildings, which have not been in use for some years … though they do have charm of their own.
They are now up for sale, with planning permission: going to public auction on the 20th September.

Both sets of buildings also give a deal of space – click to see the details of The Barns, and of The Old Cart Shed.
It could be a dream come true for somebody…

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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

Local Plan proposals – some thoughts

Had a chance to look at the Moorlands Local Plan (Preferred Options) document yet? If you have, good for you – at nearly 300 pages long, it can make your head spin after a while! Moorlands Local Plan symbol

Once it is set in stone, the Local Plan will earmark areas across the region for employment parks, housing estates, open-space, travellers’ sites etc. It will be valid until 2031.
What this is here now is a consultative document, so you can make comments on it (and hopefully, get listened to) – but you have only until Sept 22nd to do so.

And if you’re wondering why you might have a feeling of déjà-vu, well that is because this document was first issued last year – but then scrapped – and is now a revised version…
So, if you did make comments back then on the 2016 version, hard luck, because all those comments have been scrapped too – and everyone has to do any feedback all over again.

Overall

So – how is this draft different to the previous versions?
Well, the headline is that council planners have now decided that ‘smaller villages’ and ‘rural areas’ should hardly take any housing developments after all. Virtually all big new housing allocations in our region will be confined to the ‘towns’ such as Cheadle and ‘larger villages’ such as Blythe Bridge and Upper Tean.
That’s just the main headline of course; there is a lot more for us in Draycott to think about than just that.
But one has to really delve into all the details across the 300 pages to find it! It’s hard work, but already the local Draycott & Cresswell community action group, VVSM, is on the case, and is examining the document with a fine tooth-comb; and it says it will publish their comments shortly.

One thing is for sure: according to this draft, Draycott will probably have to accept a small estate of around half a dozen homes being built in its centre sometime in the next decade.
However, there is no longer a mention of the possibility of a travellers-site coming to Cresswell or Blythe Bridge.

Blythe Vale and more

Draycott is classed as a ‘smaller village’ – so how come a planning application for a housing estate of 118 homes at its eastern end, which has just been submitted, is acceptable?
Well, for one thing, strange as it may seem, it’s actually inside the Blythe Bridge boundary – thus making it officially a ‘larger village’ allocation.
Secondly, we on this website have been warning for some time that the proposed giant Northern Gateway site (which covers virtually all the fields south of Uttoxeter Road between the main Blythe Bridge roundabout and Cresswell) was a planning problem looming on the horizon.
In fact the ‘Northern Gateway’ has had outline permission for some years now, even though nothing was actually happening.
Until now.
The new preferred option from the planners (see pg 155 of the Local Plan document) is that this giant Northern Gateway site be reclassified from B1 (business & industry) to ‘mixed-use’. So, the proposed Blythe Vale housing estate site – a small part of this Northern Gateway site towards its northern end – is now seen as ripe for development for … houses. So, there you go.

Draycott site allocations employment

The dark green blob (on both sides of the A50 road), is the Northern Gateway site formerly earmarked for industry employment (and now for mixed-use). The Blythe Vale housing will take up the northern quarter between the blue line (the A50) and the orange line (the Dracott dual carriageway).  The light green space is Draycott Moor College

The weirder thing is, at the other end of Draycott, the new Blythe Park housing-estate development at Cresswell.
If this draft Local Plan were already in place, Cresswell would be left free of development as it is classified as ‘other rural area’. However, permission for the Blythe Park development was squeezed through when Cresswell was vulnerable, i.e. before this Local Plan could ever be enacted. (It was still a surprise decision though, as SMDC, by giving permission for it, went against their own Core Strategy!)
In other words, Draycott and Cresswell have few friends at the moment at SMDC Council…

Our prediction? With fifteen years, development will stretch from Cresswell through Draycott to Blythe Bridge, all in one long ribbon.

Confused?

Like we’ve said, VVSM will soon publish their very detailed views, so that might help us more to be less confused.
It’s not clear yet what responses local parish councils are collating.

If you do want direct answers to questions (good luck!) you can also quiz officers and councillors at the various Local Plan drop-in sessions. The nearest to us is at Blythe Bridge Village Hall on Wednesday 30 August, 5-8pm.

Finally, don’t be backward in coming forward if you spot anything interesting in this Local Plan document – let us all know! Just use the comments box  further down this page, or send us an email.

Resident Roger Holdcroft, who is also chair of the Draycott Council, did just that; and he says when we are looking through the document, the following pages will be of interest to local people:
Page 46 – Smaller villages: “Development on a large scale would be unsustainable, as it will generate a disproportionate number of additional journeys, undermining the spatial strategy”
Page 51 – Net Housing 2017-2031 – includes upcoming Blythe Park development at Cresswell
Page 54 – Neighbourhood Plan Areas. Draycott housing allocation
Page 67-68 – Draycott is a ‘smaller village’, Cresswell not mentioned.
Page 67-70 – Smaller villages area strategy Policy SS9
Page 78 – Greenbelt in Draycott
Page 209 – Blythe Vale development
Page 229 – Draycott Map
Page 249 – Blythe Business park development Map
Page 155-157 – Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway

That should make some good bedtime reading!

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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)