Tag Archives: Church Lane

Time for councillors to resign

As we approach the annual general meeting of Draycott Council next month, it’s time once again to assess the councillors’ performance in these last twelve months.
And, looking at their record, all one can say is that it is so hopelessly dismal, that they should all resign forthwith.

The easiest way to point out our council’s embarrassing lack of achievement is to compare it against the work done by the three surrounding village councils – Forsbrook/Blythe Bridge, Fulford and Checkley/Tean. And that’s what this article is about.

By the end of this article, you might well agree that it would be a better thing for Draycott’s electors (in Draycott, Totmonslow, Cresswell, Newton etc) if the current crop of councillors simply stood down and let more energetic people take over.

Let’s look at the facts.

Covid response
In this country’s worst peacetime year for a century, nearby councils charged ahead, organising help-groups and getting grants. Fulford Council especially set a great example, putting out a special Covid newsletter, getting grants and setting up a specific action group; they even won an award for their efforts. Checkley Council recently created a small Covid memorial plantation.

But what have Draycott Council done to help? …nothing.
Local relief here was actually carried out by a small village community group and by volunteers at Blythe Bridge library.
Very poor.

No progress
Earlier this year, a resident asked at a meeting what hopes & strategy the council had for 2021. The answer was almost predictable… : ‘nothing particularly different to before’.
The resident went away, dissatisfied, to go on to become one of the founders of DCAT, the new Draycott Community Group.

A good example of how hopeless this council is is shown by its efforts to set up a Neighbourhood Plan. Over the years, three times they have started the process, including last year – only to see it collapse each time, meaning thousands of pounds has to be returned. The simple fact is these councillors lack the energy & belief to make it happen, and certainly have failed to inspire the local public.
Compare that with Checkley Council – where their five-year NPlan process is now very far advanced!
The energy in neighbouring councils is evident: Checkley and Forsbrook have even been out buying land for community projects in the last year.
And, after the NALC (National Association of Local Councils) declared a climate-action emergency more than a year ago, other local village councils have been busy setting up green policies – including Forsbrook, which has created space for a colony of bees.

By contrast, Draycott councillors have just been sitting on their hands.

Residents have been waiting & waiting: for the promised brass plaque to remember our local war dead (although the national WW1 Project started back in 2014!); for any sign of the so-called ‘Gateway’ signs for the village; for any sign of the renovation of the Draycott kiosk; for any sign of a solid local policy for the environment.
What we got instead in 2020 was … a new bin!
(It’s true that the VAS speed-signs went up last year, but that project was launched in 2018, and most of the work was done on it in 2019).

As you’d expect from all that lack of action, Draycott Council is now sitting on a fat financial reserve. Despite that, the council is still asking for the same level of council tax this year as before…
(In terms of population and responsibilities, Draycott-in-the-Moors is comparable to Caverswall, which asks for 20% less council tax).

Duties
Draycott Council has virtually no responsibilities. Unlike other surrounding councils, it manages no playground or cemetery or allotments. Because of this, it really only has two statutory duties: to comment on planning applications and to monitor the local footpath network. But the record on these is not good either.
Probably the most important planning application it was asked to look over last year was the one about the giant Blythe Fields housing estate. It completely failed to put in a comment. Which is pretty bad.
Despite promising a local-footpaths report in 2019, none has materialised. The promise was repeated in council early this year, but still nothing has appeared.

Communication
Draycott councillors admitted a few years ago that their lines of communication with local electors needed massive improvement – what was urgently need was more newsletters, development of a user-friendly website, better use of social media, engagement with local newspapers, more involvement with the local community. In other words, they needed to catch up with surrounding councils like Fulford (which produces its own monthly news updates) and Checkley, whose councillors formally liaise with their local organisations.
But in this past 12 months… you guessed it… no progress. In fact things have gone backward.

A promise to mail out two newsletters a year fizzled out (though the council did piggy-back a newsletter made by the DSGroup).
Councillors stopped engaging formally on the village Facebook page.
The website has seen no improvements.
Nowadays, no councillor represents the council on any local community organisation – the last one being on the Church Lane Renovation Group, but he resigned from that fifteen months ago.

Only in one area does Draycott Council escape criticism: it has started to get ‘the basics’ right. Agendas and minutes appear on time, supporting documents are listed properly and the finances are transparent. However, that has little to do with the councillors; the responsibility for the ‘basics’ falls to the paid staff, not to the councillors.

All in all, it’s a very, very poor record.
… and we are only comparing Draycott Council to three other councils. Suppose we’d compared it with more…

Resignations, please

Judging by this dismal record, Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council has simply turned into an expensive monthly talking-shop, where almost nothing is achieved. Compared to the energy and creativity of surrounding councils, Draycott councillors look tired-out and stuck in their ways.
Even the newer councillors seem unable to shake things up. In fact, during 2020, one councillor only attended four of the council’s ten meetings (even though most were on Zoom)!
Councillors have to do more than just turn up. As well as demonstrating a commitment to the betterment of an area, they have to show leadership and energy.

There is no doubt of course that most of the seven Draycott councillors are nice people – but their record simply shows the job is beyond them. It is time they did the honourable thing, and moved out of the way. They should resign now. The people of this village should not have to wait until the next elections (in 2023) to see improvements in the area.

And… we all know that there are some really energetic people in the village – who would (we think) happily step in to act as co-opted councillors until 2023. If councillors were to resign, it would give these new people the chance to show what they could do, as well as providing a much-needed injection of energy into the area.

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NEWS: dog of year / Covid rules latest / Rev Sam! / green group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid October 2020
In this post we have news of…: Arms’ top dog / Covid rules – better for some, not all / saving the planet, locally / church man gets upgrade….

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Top dog

Indeea, of The Draycott ArmsFirst things first… anyone who goes into the Draycott Arms will know that the most beautiful sight in there (…sorry Brayn!) is a dog called Indeea (pronounced: india). Indeea is not only beautiful but always calm, dignified and proud; a real asset to the pub.

But owners Zara & Brayn (and us) are not the only people to have recognised this.
Now, the Staffordshire online magazine The Mark has also honoured Indeea (in its current issue) with the title ‘Pub Dog Of The Year
Totally deserved!

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Covid affects events

It’s getting hard to predict what’s on and what’s off right now.
The latest bad news is that the annual Festival & Procession of Lights in next-door Tean has now been definitively cancelled, which is a blow.
Meanwhile, the Cresswell dance-hall, Quick Quick Slow, is still badly affected. The government is still not permitting tea-dances (even when same-household couples are socially-distanced from other couples…) so the venue has now announced that there is no chance of social-dancing returning until the New Year at least, though classes are still happening there.
One feels very sorry, not just for the venue but the people who relied on QQS as a way to get out of the house and have an afternoon of pleasant exercise.

One thing is for sure, and that is that the Draycott Brownies project is not returning. After a successful couple of years, it was faltering due to lack of numbers, but, what with Covid etc, the Threapwood Division Of Girl Guiding, which oversaw the Draycott Brownies troop, has definitely decided it is unsustainable.
Funnily enough, Draycott Brownies were once one of the most popular troops in the area – this with older memories may enjoy clicking here for pictures from its past.

However, there is good news too. Our local library, at Blythe Bridge, is now fully open again, albeit on limited hours; Draycott Sports Centre is holding tournaments again and re-opening classes; and St Margaret’s Church is once more welcoming people back for its Sunday morning service (though you must book in advance via admin@stmargarets.org.uk) as is St Mary’s in Cresswell (though, with only 20 worshippers allowed in the church, it’s a case of ‘first come, first served’).

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library is back

The rules are changing all the time. What will it all look like by Christmas?

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Keep it green

In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, it’s easy to forget that the planet is still under threat, so it’s good to welcome a new, locally-based environmental campaign, called Green Tean (& Draycott).
The driving force behind it is Alana Wheat, well known in the area for her girl-guiding and youth-club involvement.

At the moment it is basically a supporters’ forum working online (on Facebook), but it says that that its hope is to produce more ‘sustainable practices’ in the neighbourhood – especially regarding recycling, sustainable gardening, wildlife and more.
Its Facebook page is open to anyone to join..

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Revving up

Rev Sam CrossleyMore good news from St Margaret’s is that the curate for this benefice, Sam Crossley (pic right), has finally got his upgrade (‘ordination’, if you want the proper term!). He was created a fully-fledged ‘Reverend’ a couple of weeks ago.

Sam is of course a Newcastle United supporter and, curiously, his team has been doing very well in the last couple of years – in fact, ever since he arrived here. Could the two facts be mysteriously connected?!!!

A piece of news that Sam might well be intrigued to hear is that the village council has discovered that the lane leading up to St Margaret’s Church is not called ‘Church Lane’ at all, which is what we had all thought. In fact it has no official name; and the council will be discussing the naming issue soon.
(But let’s not ask Sam for his ideas; we suspect he may come up with ‘Alan Shearer Lane’ or something like that…!)

Does any reader have ideas for a new name for the lane? Add your thoughts in the comments-field further down this page.

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Thanks to The Draycott Arms and St Peter’s Benefice for use of photos on this page

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: election / lane re-surface / Colours 150th / squash

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid December 2019
In this post we have news of…: the election candidates / Church Lane – repaired! / Blythe Colours 150th anniversary / Draycott to be squash centre (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a community carols service …  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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Candidates’ lack of interest

Everybody keeps rushing around saying this is one of the most exciting elections ever… but not, it seems, in our constituency (‘Stone, Cheadle & Madeley’). It is so dull round here, that the BBC’s news-page for our constituency lists… no updates at all!

As for the candidates, well, sigh. Most of them can’t even be bothered to write up their official webpages.
The Conservative candidate hasn’t bothered to write up his official webpage at all (!) ;
The Green candidate has at least listed his name on his… but nothing else  ;
The Labour candidate  has put up a thumbnail biog, but no manifesto (and it’s one month out of date anyway) ;
So well done to the only candidate who bothered to put up a manifesto on his official webpage – the Liberal Democrat.

Thus … what do we really know? We know the oldest candidate is the Conservative, at 79, and the youngest is the Lib Dem; the Lib Dem and the Green actually live in the constituency; and that the Conservative is the sitting MP, while the rest are all local councillors.

person dropping paper on box

So, thank goodness for the local press! Without them, we’d know very little indeed. Check out the constituency hyper-local news website for profile-statements by all the candidates.
And the only time candidates seemed prepared to answer the tough questions ‘live’ was in a video-stream recorded on December 3rd, which is still available to view online. (The candidates did have to deal with one very tricky question, about the local badger-TB cull, which is worth checking out).
Actually, this video is also worth watching if you are still undecided who (or what) to vote for, as it’s probably the only time in this election you’ll get to see all four candidates in action.

All in all, you’d have hoped our candidates would have put on a better show if they wanted our votes. Bit depressing.

However, yes, we know, it’s a citizen’s duty to vote…
Voting actually takes place this week – on Thursday (12th) between 7am and 10pm at Draycott Church Hall.

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St Modwen do a Saint Nick

It’s not often a major developer plays Santa Claus, but that is exactly what is happening in Draycott.
St Modwen Homes, which is building the Blythe Vale estate at the eastern end of the village, have decided to send their chaps along to have them repair the road leading up to St Margaret’s Church. And it needs repair a good deal; in fact Church Lane is so full of potholes that it resembles the surface of the moon, and some undertakers have, more than once, threatened not even to take hearses up it!

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors – before….

And how come this Christmassy warm gesture???
Well, we owe a lot of it to our county councillor, Mark Deavillmark deavillee, (see pic right) who, in his own words “made a “cheeky request… but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”
As we all know, contractors working for St Modwen are currently re-shaping the stretch of our carriageway leading on to the A50 – so Mark just asked if some of them could be freed up to come along and fix Church Lane. He was backed up in his efforts by some timely letters from Joyce Moore of the Church Hall Committee … and St Modwen agreed!
So.. the lane has now been resurfaced from the bottom of the bank almost to the church car park – a distance of around one hundred yards.

Incidentally, this is not a piece of the local community-compensation works (aka the ‘S106 Agreement’)  that developers are obliged to do. It appears to be a freebie.

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Merry Xmas St Modwen! And merry Xmas, Joyce and Mark….
Good job!

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More squash

An interesting line came out of a recent meeting by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in which councillors were examining how best to ‘reorganise’ leisure services across the area.
You won’t be surprised to learn that it involve cuts – and the Leisure Centre in Cheadle looks like it could be closed, including its swimming pool.

There might well also be cuts in the range of squash courts.

draycott sports centre sign

Draycott Sports Centre

However, the (very slim) silver lining is that this means some investment may well come to Draycott Sports Centre. The centre already provides squash courts, but soon it may be the only venue for squash in the Moorlands … so the centre may get cash from SMDC for expansion.
Watch this space.

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A colourful date

Finally, a date for your diary: Monday 6th January between 6pm and 7pm.
This is the date for an open meeting, to take place at Blythe Library, for anyone who wants to help create or take part in the Blythe Colours Cresswell Factory 150th Anniversary Celebrations.

The old colour-making works, which used to be on Blythe Park, closed down a few decades ago of course, but in its time provided employment for thousands of Draycott & Cresswell folk.

Ivan Wozniak and Jill Crowther, who co-ordinate the group, believe a big exhibition should be one of the events to be held next summer. Ivan told us: “Good news! I am pleased to report that the local chemicals firm Johnson Matthey have agreed to support our proposed 150 years celebration of Blythe Colours with a £500 donation!
He went on to say “…. but we will need all the help we can get, no matter how small. If you want to find out more about what we want to do, please come along to our ideas meeting next month.
All are welcome, and you don’t have to have worked at the factory to attend. All input, from anyone, welcome!

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: buses return? / art competition / village centre / bright light / food bank

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses returning to the village? / an art competition for youngsters / new food-bank drop-off / Keg’s bright light softened / a centre-piece for Draycott?… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including the annual Draycott Fayre…  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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Buses are back! (soon)

It’s been a while since the last bus service ran through Draycott & Cresswell. When Staffordshire County Council withdrew its subsidy for the Number 12 eighteen months ago, that was that.
The only way at present to get a bus locally is to first walk to either Blythe Bridge or Tean.

Bennett's Number 4 bus

It’s been a while since we last saw a bus in the village

But it looks like that will change later this year.
This is because local village councils are now increasingly taking it on themselves to provide subsidies, and Draycott Council is itself now also going to experiment with the concept. Draycott is joining up with Fulford and Forsbrook Councils to provide a straight-through bus going Fulford – Cresswell – Draycott Level – Blythe Bridge and it will touch on Tesco at Meir Heath as well. There will be one (return) service three days a week.
Sadly, it won’t run through Totmonslow though.

The service, run by D&G Buses, will apply normal charges (bus passes will be accepted); and is likely to start in the autumn.

For a small council like Draycott, it’s ambitious – but very risky. The subsidy will cost Draycott £1800 (around a fifth of its yearly income) – though, if the service is a success, much of that will be reimbursed to the council.
So, for now, the service is only guaranteed for six months. This will be truly a case of use-it-or-lose-it.

The lead councillor on this project is Gordon Winfield. Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

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Budding Picassos – it’s your time

There are now less than a few days for youngsters to get in their artworks for the Draycott Fayre Young-Art Competition.
The competition is open to early-years children (5 to 11 years old) and entries must be this Friday (July 5th).

The competition is just one of a raft of new ideas which are making this year’s fayre (which takes place in a fortnight, on Sunday 14th July) look so exciting. So, adults… get your little ones drawing, or painting or crayoning now – whatever they prefer!

The basic ‘rules’ are simple. Try to compose something on the theme of saving life on this planet; and create it on a piece of A4 size material, whether it’s paper, card, canvas, whatever.
When you’re done, post it through the letterbox at The Draycott Arms or at Blythe Bridge Library.
(For full terms and conditions, click here).

Go on…. try it…!    The entries get pride-of-place at an exhibition on the day of the fayre.

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Drop off food, near home

The distressing news that so many children in this country now live below the poverty line continues to shock us all; and is a reason why food banks are still so well used by those who just can’t afford to keep going easily.
What is wonderful though is how generous the rest of us can be, and most food banks still get plenty of donations thankfully.
However, it’s not always so convenient for us to get our donations to the main food bank at Cheadle, which is only open certain days and has parking issues.
So, it’s good news that Christ Church (on Hollington Road in Upper Tean, opposite the Great Wood Centre) now has a collection box for the Foodbank at the back of the building. The church is open every day until about teatime when donations are collected by volunteers.
Well done to the folk at Christ Church.

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A little place of pride

Draycott Village Council has decided to take seriously the idea of creating a ‘centre-piece’ for the village.
There is a small triangle of grass at the bottom of Church Lane (opposite the turn into Cresswell) which at the moment looks a bit scruffy and is just used for off-road parking; and Councillor Mark Deaville would like to see it used ‘artistically’.

Draycott Triangle – currently mainly used for off-road parking

So, the idea is to fence off the triangle with low posts (to prevent the parking) – but also to set within it some objects, which will let motorists know that they are passing through a village which has a sense of its own pride.
Quotes are being sought, as we speak, for the cost of installing such posts.

But what should be placed in the Triangle – if anything? Don’t forget that a large new roundabout is planned to be built right by the Triangle relatively soon, so motorists will be travelling quite slowly past the project and will get to see it well.
(We personally would love to see a village sign there – see our Village Sign Article).
Do you have ideas? Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

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Electric light

Talking of village conservation, it seems that complaining to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council does sometimes result in action…
Some residents at the western end of Draycott were unhappy about the new LED illuminated sign outside the Golden Keg. They complained that its colour was garish and that the way it flashed on and off was disturbing to them in their nearby homes.

Well, it seems like the officers at SMDC agree with the residents … to an extent. They ordered the restaurant to stop the sign flashing.
So, in theory at least, the effect of the light should not be quite so intrusive now.

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

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

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)

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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.

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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)