Tag Archives: draycott in the moors parish council

NEWS: Lockdown blooms / politics zooms / new use for phone-box / black lives matter

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid June 2020
In this post we have news of…: blooming planters! / life-saver for Draycott phone-box / council meets online / protest signs in Cresswell

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College gets Draycott flowering

Even in lockdown, there have been all sorts of attempts in the community to keep people’s spirits up.
One of the most noticeable has been the sudden flowering of the eight planters in Draycott. Last month, Draycott Moor College students & staff volunteered to help out on the Draycott Planters Project, which was set up by local resident Lee Warburton two years ago – and it is their efforts which have created the wonderful displays you can see now.
(The college, unlike most other schools, stayed open, because some of its children are at-risk and some were also the children of key workers).

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The project received £250 from the County Council’s Covid-19 Fund, and Draycott Council also contributed.

The students have actually been pretty busy during this time, as they have also been helping out with the Draycott Community Coronavirus Support Group. Well done to them…

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Support for carers and NHS

The Thursday Night Clap For Carers was another activity that brought many of us together, even if it was only from our front gates.
However, although the whole thing officially ended a couple of weeks ago, it looks like one last revival of it is now planned – for Sunday July 5th, which will then be a ‘proper’ finale.

In Draycott at large, music seemed to accompany the Thursday Clap. At St Margaret’s Church, they would ring the bells at 8pm on those days (thanks Dave!); and in Rookery Crescent (Cresswell), Vera Lynn would sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’!
Let’s hope music features again on July 5th.

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Politics made easier

Covid or not, decisions still need to be made, so politics carries on, even if it’s under strange conditions.

Draycott Council have been ‘meeting virtually’, using Zoom, the online video-conferencing system. In fact, it has been very successful, with as many as twelve people (including councillors) tuning into the meeting on June 8th.

The obvious benefit of Zoom is that it enables anyone with a computer to check in and see what’s going on – no matter the weather or how one is feeling.

Other great things about Zoom conferencing is that it forces groups to allow one person to speak at a time, and also enables everybody watching to be able to hear very clearly what is being said. All these are real boons, because it’s often difficult to catch what is being said at a ‘normal’ Draycott Council meeting.
It would almost be preferable (we think) to hold all meetings via Zoom in future… Well, it’s a thought anyway!

Sir Bill CashThe lockdown has led to one problematic thing in the Houses of Parliament, because MPs who are not physically present there are not allowed to vote in debates – not even those MPs who are at home because they or their loved ones are at-risk. It’s a strange situation.
We wondered if our own MP, Bill Cash (see pic) – who is 80 years old after all -, would fall into that category. However, it seems he is living in his London flat, so he can attend debates.
So, no need to stop writing to him if you have concerns he might be able to help with.

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Life-saving equipment for Draycott

It seems Draycott Council have now decided to officially take ownership of the old BT phone box in Draycott. (It’s to be found up against The Old Post Office house, diagonally opposite The Draycott Arms.)

draycott phonebox

Phonebox at old post office, Draycott-le-Moors

It’s in a bit of a state inside, quite decayed, but BT were offering it to the council for just £1…

But what to do with it?
Well, the council has also now decided to put a defibrillator in there, like in so many other former phone-boxes. (In fact, the old kiosk in Cresswell also now houses a defibrillator, and has done since 2015.)
A defibrillator is a piece of life-saving equipment which can be used – by anyone – to help revive people who are suffering cardiac arrest.

However, it’s not clear yet how the council intends to pay for refurbishing the Draycott kiosk and for installing a defibrillator; more than £2000 will be needed.
By contrast, the Cresswell kiosk project was a community effort, run by VVSM, the local action group, and the way they paid for it was by fund-raising through jumble sales and begging for donations.

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Black Lives Matter

As we all know, Draycott-in-the-Moors is quite a sleepy place, and sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that events in the outside world do not affect us.

But it seems some things are too big to be ignored. Covid is one of course, but now signs are appearing in the village reminding us of the terrible recent event in America where yet another African-American man died at the hands of the police – the George Floyd affair.
The news of the event seems to have shocked the world, and there have been demonstrations in many countries – and even  the British Parliament held a minute’s silence to remember Mr Floyd.

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Signs have now also begun to appear in Draycott-in-the-Moors.  (Interestingly, the signs in Cresswell have hearts drawn over them – a message of hope.)
Perhaps some matters are simply so important that they can penetrate even into quiet lives like ours in Draycott.

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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: online council / stay at home events / knight errant

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2020
In this post we have news of…: Village council goes to video / virtual coffee-morning / VE Day is ‘virtual’; scarecrows go ahead / Draycott knight errant!

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Council works remotely

The present crisis means that any kind of gatherings are a problem – but life must go on. In terms of councils, the government advice is that they must take up video-conferencing.

A household-unit takes part in a video conference

So, for its meeting on Monday May 11th, Draycott village councillors will all meet online, on ‘Zoom’. As the law demands that the public must be able to observe such proceedings, residents can also ask to be included in the invitees.
Anyone who has used Zoom knows what happens: we sit in front of our computer screens in our kitchens, and we will see the faces of all the others who are in on the conference-call and also hear them. (If you are shy, and don’t want to be seen, you can just switch off the camera on your own computer).

To apply to be part of the council’s Skype meeting, please contact the Draycott Council clerk;  for those who need it, Denise has done a great how-to guide, which she will then send you. But… you must apply by May 8th.

Yes, it’s not the best way to do such meetings, but we do hope that Draycott council takes a lead from this work; and puts all meetings online in the future; so many other councils do it, and it’s a great aid to local democracy.
Welcome to the 21st century…
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A virtual cup of coffee

This lockdown is not one we wanted, and life is going to get a lot worse for some, but there are some good people really trying their best to make life as bearable as it can be for us all in this district.

Lee Warburton and Kate Bradshaw are particularly to be congratulated for keeping the village Facebook page and the Draycott Coronavirus Community-Support going – both are invaluable lifelines.
Also, the QQS Dance Studio, based in Cresswell, has a weekly podcast of cheerful tunes, which is great, and our local library maintains a local community phone-line – and we even know of a certain lady who baked cakes for everyone in her street (well done Bev!).

But congratulations too to Sam Crossley, the new curate at St Margaret’s Church. He’s come up with a few ideas, including an online weekly church newsletter and a weekly ‘virtual’ coffee-morning!
The coffee-morning works a bit like the council’s video-meeting; and it’s open to all local residents. The best bit about it is that if you really don’t know how to set it up, Sam has promised to personally guide you and your computer through the process.  Click here for details.
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Celebrations postponed … and initiated

Well, it was inevitable, even if sad, that the Draycott 75th Anniversary Celebrations for Victory In Europe (VE) Day would have to be cancelled. On May 8th, the due date, most of us will still be in lockdown.

It’s sad because St Margaret’s Church had organised a tea-party, a pealing of the bells, and even a lone piper, to have made it a day to remember.
One of the organisers, John Clarke, is hoping however that some degree of normality might have returned by August, leaving the way open for some sort of celebration of the anniversary of the actual end of World War Two, i.e. Victory In Japan (VJ) Day, on the weekend of 15th/16th August. We shall see.

Fayre vehicle rally 2019

Hundreds of vehicles and engines usually come to Draycott for the fayre

John is also sure concerned that the annual Draycott Fayre, which usually takes place in mid-July, might have to be cancelled. The fayre is the highlight of the year in Draycott, so that really is a shame.

In contrast… well done to Kate Bradshaw (again) who is behind the forthcoming Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow Scarecrow Festival.  In these stay-at-home times, the premise is pretty straightforward: stick a scarecrow in front of your house, or in your front garden, for the three days Friday 8th to Sunday 10th May. If you want to add a ‘theme’ to your scarecrow, that’s ok too (people or memories or WW2 books are the suggestions).
PS – they don’t have to be made of straw – any material will do….
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Draycott knightKnight to the rescue!

Finally, if the latest stats are to be believed, a form of lockdown will have to go on for some time, especially for older people. This is not great news, so a bit of cheerful eccentricity is always welcome to keep us going.

And… to the rescue, to bring some cheer, we have the mysterious Knight of Draycott.

He (we think it’s a he!) can be seen occasionally striding the lanes of Draycott (he seems to have lost his white horse), waving to householders confined to their homes.

Draycott knight & squire

Draycott knight & squire. Thanks to Emma Myatt for the pics

Carry on with your quest to bring smiles to Draycott, sir Knight!

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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 of: church funds / Totmonslow housing / police Facebook / footpaths

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2019
In this post we have news of…: parish council doze through Totmonslow development / report those footpaths / police join Facebook / fayre funds for church… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Sausage & Cider Festival…  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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Village council lack of action

The recent news that a development for five houses at Totmonslow has finally got planning permission launched a surprising discussion at the last Draycott parish council meeting.
Pete Wilkinson, one of our newly elected district councillors, had dropped in to observe the meeting. He expressed his deep unhappiness with the Totmonslow news, saying that the new cul-de-sac which will be built for the development is too dangerous: the cul-de-sac will exit straight onto the main Draycott-Tean road, too close to the brow of the hill for Mr Wilkinson’s liking. In fact he said accidents would be the inevitable result.

He is not the only one who feels this way. Among the official objections to the original proposal were comments from half-a-dozen residents and from Checkley Parish Council too (even through the development is inside Draycott-in-the-Moors area, and only borders on Checkley’s area).

Then Mr Wilkinson asked how Draycott Council had responded.
Silence.
It turned out that, though our village council were aware of the application, and its various updates, even discussing the issue a year ago, they had just … forgotten to make a response.
So what we see here is that the neighbouring parish council and a number of local residents had managed to put in official responses, but our own council, whom we depend on, had failed to.

It seems to us that this really is not good enough. Village councils should be there in the front-line, battling away on issues that affect the community, not dozing on the sidelines. Whether they agreed with the Totmonslow proposal or opposed it, their first duty was to make some sort of response. And they failed.
Ad this is not the first time (see Council’s dismal record).
So, again, we would ask Draycott Council to … just please wake up.

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Watching the detectives

According to surveys, the main public issue that bothers small communities like ours is crime. This is quite surprising, as small districts don’t usually suffer a lot of crime.

Moorlands Police logo
Our local Moorlands police are aware of this concern; and put on monthly meet-the-PCSO sessions at both Blythe Bridge and Tean to try to reassure residents.
But they have now gone a step further and last month launched their own Facebook page. It will list traffic reports, news of convictions & arrests, diary dates for consultation events and so on.

In one way, this doesn’t seem like a big contribution to crime-fighting – but it is part of the drive by local police to publicise what they do, in order to make us feel safer.

But, what do you think of this latest move by Moorlands Police? Is it just a gesture, or a useful initiative? Use the comments box on this webpage to express your thoughts.

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Hurrah for the fayre

The final receipts are in for the annual Draycott Fayre, which was held just a few weeks ago. Once all costs are taken out, the fayre raised a handsome £4000-plus for the parish church fund. St Margaret’s is nearly 800 years old, and, without such donations, would simply start to crumble.

In fact, the last annual report for the church tells us that it spent a staggering £50,000 in the twelve-month on maintenance (which admittedly did include major roof repairs). Fortunately, some grants had become available, and there were donations of £12,000 from local well-wishers, but you can see how money can get swallowed up very quickly.
(Surprisingly, this current annual report for the church has not been made available online, even though previous reports have been. A copy is available in the church itself though).

So, if you went to the fayre (see highlights below), you can have the satisfaction of knowing that a great heritage & community asset is safe for another year, thanks to your support…

 

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By the way, an even better series of photos of the day than the ones above has been created by Neil Archibald, and is available online for all to enjoy – check out the Draycott 2019 Fayre Album

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Report blocked paths a new way

Most footpaths in Draycott-in-the-Moors are maintained very well (though there are some problems in Cresswell where overgrown and blocked paths continue to be a long-standing and thorny issue).

It has been very frustrating trying to report problem issues over the last few years. Staffordshire County Council (who are responsible for path maintenance) have set up easy online ways of reporting potholes, flytipping, problems with bins etc – but not an online way to report footpath problems.
Until now.

Near NewHouse track

A blocked footpath

At last, you can report local footpath and bridleway problems on a custiomised webpage, thanks to a newly set-up and simple online process.
Click on Staffs Public Rights Of Way Issues.
Having created your online account, you can also track the issues you have reported (to make sure they do get fixed); and also can see matters reported by others.

Lots more people are walking for health – and our district has plenty of good countryside footpath routes (see some examples by clicking here and here) – so let’s make it as easy as we can for us all to keep walking.

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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: annual assembly / last week for Colours / green bowls back

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2019
In this post we have news of…: promoting the village assembly / Colour-Works exhibition last week / go bowling in Cresswell… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including ballroom-dancing lessons…  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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Annual gathering

The ‘annual assembly’ for our district of Draycott-in-the-Moors took place earlier this month.
An ‘annual assembly’ is a 100 year-old tradition, at which residents of rural villages come together for one evening in the year – to hear what their local organisations are up to, and to discuss some of the issues facing the village.

At our own 2019 Draycott Villagers’ Assembly, there were speakers from six organisations, (though, sadly, the speaker we most wanted to hear from, the manager of the Blythe CC Community Hub, was not present). All speakers were informative, and well-received.

However, what was disappointing was the level of attendance. Barring the speakers and their supporters, barely half-a-dozen other people attended.

So… perhaps it is time it is handled a different way…
Up to now, the organisation and publicity for this event has been left each year to the local council’s chairperson (even though this is not actually a council meeting) but, down the years, the assembly has never been the successful event it should be, suffering from poor publicity and confusion over its aims.
So, is it time a people’s working-party was formed – with the ambition to make this gathering the central success for the neighbourhood that it really should be?

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Blythe spirit

Congratulations to the Cheadle History Discovery Group and to Blythe Bridge Library, who, between them, have produced a fascinating exhibition about the history of Blythe Colour Works. This huge works dominated life in Cresswell for almost one hundred years, from the 1890s.
From photos to ‘specimen’ crockery, there’s interesting stuff to see.

A laboratory at the Blythe Colour Works, sometime around 1930

It was a bit of a surprise to learn from the exhibition that not only did the factory supply colours to pottery firms (including Wedgwood, Royal Doulton etc), but it also supplied industries that made plastics, glass, and even jewellery!

The exhibition is into its last week now at Blythe Bridge library so you still have time to go along to see it.
If you want something to whet your appetite, click here to see a little YouTube slideshow of the best of the exhibition.
The exhibition is free to enter.

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Bowling along

Welcome back to our local bowlers!
The outdoor season has just started again for the bowls club which plays on the green at Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

Cresswell bowling green in summer 2018

Cresswell bowling green – after a rather dry spell!

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary told us: “We still have 3 teams, aiming to give everyone who wants it a chance to play at every level; and we always welcome new members to join this friendly club”.

However, if you don’t want to join one of the teams as such, but just would enjoy a casual session instead, then ‘club afternoons’ are for you. They take place on Thursdays.
Sue can be contacted on 01782 396785 if you want more details.

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Time to reflect

In a recent post, we welcomed the new members that have been elected, and will create a new version of Draycott Council.
However, as we know, the future can only work properly if we remember the past. And sadly, the past – that is, the record of the previous version of Draycott Council over the last few years – was not a completely proud one.

So, what we have done is compiled a review of the 2015-2019 council’s achievements (and/or failings) as a kind of school-report. Click here to see the full review.
We hope that residents (including the new councillors) will read it and see that there is a need to find ways in which improvement and reform can happen – so that we can have a model village council in the future instead.

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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

Draycott Council – a five-year review

Earlier this month, we saw the 2019 Annual Meeting of Draycott-in-the-Moors Council.  (The council oversees not just Draycott, but Cresswell, Totmonslow, Draycott Cross and Draycott Waste).
During such an annual meeting a council will often look back over its last few years, especially the last twelve months, to see what has been achieved…. if anything. In an election year (as this one is), it will also look back at the achievements of the outgoing council … if there were any.

This year, the summary of such achievements was presented by the Draycott Council chairperson, Pat McLaughlin.
Naturally, this summary (being presented by a politician as it is…), will often mention the good stuff, and often ‘forget’ the disappointing stuff – so it is left up to us, the residents, to remember the other side of the coin, and make sure it is not forgotten.

Having said that, we do now have a ‘new’ council – nearly half the members are only recently elected,since the election only three weeks ago -, so it is a bit unfair to load on it too many of the failings of the past – but, for the sake of the record, and in the hope that the new members will avoid the mistakes of the old members, here goes…

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Summary – Draycott Council 2014-2019

What we have thought is to do is to look back over the last few years, i.e. over the time of the outgoing council, and check out the different categories in which village councils have duties, and to see how Draycott Council scores…. and then mark each aspect out of five * (stars).
This scoring is subjective and ours alone – other residents may have other views.

*Control of finances – 2*
~   Over the last six years, Draycott has demanded huge tax increases; in one year (2014) it even demanded a 24% council-tax rise for itself!  In fact the council’s average annual tax-rise demand in this period has been 8% … at a time when inflation in the country as a whole was floating around 2%…!
In contrast, other comparable councils, such as nearby Dilhorne, have stayed under the inflation rate.
However, the extra money has not been used for unexpected or ambitious projects.  The only significant project has been in maintenance, with the repair of the roofs of two bus shelters.
The council is now sitting on a large reserve.

Communication with residents – 1*
One of the most frequent promises made by politicians is that they wish to reach out to their public and ‘communicate’.   It’s also one of the promises that is hardly ever kept … especially in Draycott.
~   Despite repeated promises (the last one being by the chairperson in 2017), Draycott Council has not issued any newsletters to the community for six years.
~   The council’s website is just a ‘bare minimum’ affair; it is barely up to what it is required to do by statute. In 2018, it only published one post. The council simply don’t take it seriously.
It just looks very untidy too – compare it to websites of other nearby councils which have much more informative and tidy websites (see Milwich Council’s website or Fulford Council’s website , or  indeed websites of all our surrounding parish councils).
~   It is within the council’s remit to set up working-groups, in which local residents and councillors work together to solve particular problems. Draycott Council only has two such groups – up to last month, both had not even met.
~   The councillors refuse to publish their email addresses either on Draycott Council’s own webpages or the official Local Government webpages. Compare that to the openness of neighbouring Milwich councillors’ approach or Checkley councillors, who all reveal their email addresses. As for those registers of interests – some councillors didn’t even list the address of the house they live in.

It is worth noting that the national body for parish councils, the NALC is so worried about the lack of community engagement seen in semi-rural councils like Draycott that they have set up a working party to urge local councils to develop this side of their work.

Leadership –  2*
Draycott village council has very few direct responsibilities; its main two are to consider planning applications and to monitor the local footpath network.  It has an incredibly poor record on both.
~ Draycott Council has put in a response to only one major planning application over the last five years.  It made no official response to:  the Cresswell Housing Estate proposal (for 168 homes); the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan 2018-2031 Final Version; the Cresswell Roundabout proposal; and the Blythe Vale Housing Estate proposal (for 118 homes).
This February (in election year…!) , it finally did make an official response to an important proposal – to the second Blythe Vale Housing Estate proposal (for 146 homes).
Over those same years, only one time has a Draycott councillor gone to Leek to voice the residents’ case at a planning meeting.
In contrast, one can name numerous other Moorlands parish councils who have risen to the challenge of large planning matters – Bagnall village council even commissioned reports, while others have led demonstrations.
~  There have been no published parish-footpaths surveys and/or annual reports, despite promises, in the last five years.
~  While other Moorlands villages press on gradually with their ‘neighbourhood plans’ processes, we have got nowhere here; in fact, here in Draycott, the process has collapsed three times over the last few years. At the last attempt, £2000 was spent on consultants before that attempt was wound up.  The current, fourth attempt looks doomed to go the same way.
~   A drive by the council to recruit residents for a speedwatch scheme also failed.

Transparency –  2*
Since 2015, when the government had to force secretive councils such as Draycott to openly publish the records of their meetings, ‘transparency’ has been a key word in how councils should behave.
However, the NALC is very worried that transparency is simply not being taken seriously.
Again, we would urge Draycott Council to start to be transparent.

~   On four occasions over the last five years, the council has decided to go into private session (when the public has to leave the hall). On all but one of those occasions, it was later proved they had no right to do so.
~  Publication of relevant documents. The council is required by statute to publish, by strict deadlines, a select list of documents on its website.  For example, it must “publish the finalised (or draft) minutes from all formal meetings not later than one month after the meeting has taken place”. Over 2015-19, Draycott failed to do this on twelve occasions; residents continually had to complain about the issue.
The council is also supposed to publish ‘supporting documents’ on the website. It almost never does.  In fact, the records of one of its sub-committees, the Personnel Sub-Committee, have never been published.
In contrast, nearby Milwich Council has made it crystal clear that they know their responsibilities and will stick to them, by publishing s stand-alone Transparency responsibilities webpage on its website.
~   In 2018, the councillors refused to reveal what public groups, other than the council, they are personally associated with. The council has also refused to reveal which members have (or have not) undertaken councillor training sessions. By contrast, Checkley parish councillors are completely open.
~   But, to be fair, some reforms were introduced in 2017, mostly at the insigation of the then clerk. It became easier for members of the public to get soemthing placed on a council agenda.

Conduct – 3*
~  The last couple of years have been pretty bad for Draycott Council’s reputation. Some unpleasant behaviour within the council was even exposed in the local papers (the clerk at the time even resigned in disgust). Separately, a councillor resigned in 2016, partly because of the treatment she said she’d suffered.
You’d have expected the council to launch an investigation into what exactly was happening and what was at the root of it.  They didn’t.
~   But, to be fair, most recent council meetings have been conducted without acrimony. At least recent meetings are (on the surface anyway!) polite.

However, the NALC is so concerned about the behaviour of councils generally that it now wants a compulsory Code Of Conduct for councillors – to get them to behave with due respect for the proper ways.

Major Achievements –  1*
Here in Draycott-in-the-Moors, the council collects almost £10,000 a year in council tax from residents. So, has the council any major achievements to show for that over the last few years?
~ Earlier this year, the council applied for funding for a speed-sign, and has been successful; it is to be hoped that a sign will be installed later this year.
~ The council’s Great War Commemoration effort was underwhelming.
~ Maintenance jobs in the district have been neglected over the last five years, because the council took that long to appoint a ‘lengthsman’ (aka odd jobs person).  The role has now been filled – so let’s hope things start to look better.
~  The council do though employ a litter-picker, whose job is to keep the village tidy, and Mr Price has been continuously in post for quite a few years.

(However, in the same period, a local community group established an information centre, installed a defibrillator, organised tidy-up days, built an information board, and commissioned reports to challenge unwanted housing development.  Quite a contrast!).

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Looking to the future

We hope we’ve been fair on this page in our review of the council’s record.  The trouble is, it’s not a very good record.

However, perhaps it is up to all of us to draw a line in the sand and put the past behind us and let the new councillors do their best.
We wish the ‘new’ council good luck.

Have the new Draycott councillors the energy, the vision and the drive to start to make significant things happen?
We would urge the newer councillors to try to inject some energy into the system… and perhaps, one day, someone will profile Draycott as a model council. Wouldn’t that be good?

***
Want to comment 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

New councillors in 2019 election results

So now we know who our local political representatives are to be for the next four years.
Last Thursday we had both the Draycott village-council elections and the elections for the members who will now represent us on the Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

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Draycott-in-the-Moors council

Officially known as the ‘parish council’ but, to save confusion, often called the village or ‘community’ council, this is the council that looks after the grassroots interests of the area of Draycott, Cresswell, Totmonslow, Draycott Cross, Newton and Bromley Wood.

This time round, we welcome three new faces on to the seven-strong council – Kate Bradshaw, Emma Myatt and Sean McLaughlin (though Sean has already done six months as a temporary member).
Cllr Kate BradshawKate (see pic right) is well known as a strong character who also is a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church; Sean has worked abroad, though he has re-settled his business back in Draycott; and Emma is the ‘youngster’ of the council, with growing children and a track record of interest in the community.

Coming back for a further term are Roger Holdcroft (a teacher), Ms Pat McLaughlin (an accountant), Mark Deaville (who runs the Anchor Pub and is the only party-affiliated member, labelling himself a Conservative) and the life-long Draycottian, veteran Gordon Winfield.

Cllr Gordon WinfieldGordon (see pic, right) topped the poll with 169 votes, though it was very close with only thirty votes separating the top six.  Emma, who despite being very new to many of us, still polled a very creditable 118 votes.
Click here for details of voting.

It looks a good strong team at this point, and we should have some good debates, as the balance on the council is much more even now: it is about half-and-half in terms of ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives’.

The last two Draycott Councils (the 2011 and 2015 intakes) have been worse than useless; let’s hope this new version can change that and make a real difference.

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Staffs Moorlands Council – Checkley Ward

The residents of Draycott have had little to thank the Conservative-majority on Staffs Moorlands Council for over the last four years. During that time, proposals for two huge housing estates in our small district have been eased through (with the proviso of more to come) with virtually no regard for the views of local people.
The Local Plan process undertaken by the council majority was also fairly embarrassing, not to mention accusations of corruption.
So, it’s not surprising that, after the elections, Staffs Moorlands is now a ‘hung council’, with Conservatives losing out badly, and with Independents and Labour picking up a deal of seats.

As for us here, we come under the Checkley Ward of SMDC.
Over the last decades this has been a ‘shoo-in’ for the Tories, but there was a surprise result. Instead of it being the usual clean sweep of three Tories in Checkley, it was two Tories and one Independent.

Cllr Alan HulmeThe two Conservative councillors now representing us on the SMDC Council will be: Alan Hulme (see pic, right), a farmer by trade, and Mark Deaville.  Mark is born-and-bred, and lives in Totmonslow (and is also one of our parish councillors as well, of course) so he has a special interest in Draycott.
The former UKIP man Pete Wilkinson is the independent; and he was the only one who was up-front enough to talk about planning issues in his election flyers. Maybe that was one of the reasons why he got in… (?)
Click here for the details of the voting.

Cllr Pete WilkinsonCuriously, both Mark and Pete (see pic, right) are pub landlords (The Anchor and the Raddle Inn respectively).
So we look forward to their ‘councillor consultations’!

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Finally, we just want to say that these local elections in our small district were carried out with a deal of dignity and fairness, by all candidates, and that is such a relief these days.
Most candidates also put out election flyers too, so we could see what they were promising.
And now we will hold them to their promises!!

News: local elections / new candidates / community’s kiosk / memorial move

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid April 2019
In this post we have news of…:  a farewell to some councillors / new faces among the election candidates / well done to Cresswell kiosk group / new site for memorial tree … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including sports camps in Cresswell…  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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Farewell

Believe it or not, we have great respect for people who step up for their community to become councillors. Yes, there are some bad apples, there are too many incompetents, and quite a few who are too self-important, but most are just ordinary honest folk with a sense of civic duty.
So, when they step down after years of ‘doing their bit’, it is fair to thank them.

Two familiar local faces whose names will not be on the ballot at the forthcoming Moorlands Council elections (in May) are Colin Pearce and David Trigger. Colin has a thoughtful and courteous manner about him, but he has been virtually the only one of our local politicians brave enough to stand up loudly to development hereabouts – he will be missed. And Dave Trigger, who has been so ill recently, was someone who could always be relied upon to be very intelligent & honest – rare qualities indeed. They were good councillors, both.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

Here, Pauline Clarke displays the ’25 Years of the Draycott Fayre’ banner

There are changes too at Draycott Parish council.
Pauline Clarke is stepping down after many years; she is a good example of the sort of villager who keeps a community going – her work with the summer fayre, the church refurbishment, the craft club and so on is testament to that.
Sadly, we seem to have fewer and fewer residents like her: ones who are prepared to support a range of activities in the village. We need more…

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Fresh faces at the polls

And now, on to what’s happening next.  As you know, the month of May will see village-council as well as district-council elections.

But, it has been depressing to note that, all around the Moorlands, very few people want to step up and stand for election to their parish-village councils. In fact, in nearly all other Moorlands villages, there won’t be elections at all – because, simply, they won’t have enough candidates.
In next-door Blythe Bridge for example, despite its ongoing problems of vandalism, interest is so low in their council that only six candidates have come forward to fill thirteen seats. That’s very disheartening.

So… congratulations are in order for us, the people of Draycott-in-the-Moors! This will be one of very, very few areas in the Moorlands where a parish council election will take place, as there are more than enough candidates here. When that happens, it usually shows a healthy interest in democracy among the residents.

And it’s nice to see some welcome faces among the first-time candidates here.
Kate Bradshaw is well-known for her work with the church and for her deep understanding of how parish councils function; she is also a ‘moderator’ on our village Facebook group. The Myatts of Stuart Avenue are also well-known and are that supportive of the council that two family members are standing! It’s good to see too that Sean McLaughlin, who ‘filled in’ when Steve Jones died a year ago, has decided that he will now put himself forward for a proper go. See the full list of candidates by clicking here.

These fresh faces deserve some consideration – please use your vote on May 2nd!
(There’s only one issue – surprisingly, nobody from Cresswell is standing, so if you live in Cresswell, you might want to press the candidates to ask them what they will do for Cresswell).

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Moorlands Council elections

Meanwhile, there are also the Moorlands District Council elections. At the moment, the Conservatives are the majority party on the Moorlands Council.
We are in the Checkley ward (Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow are all in Checkley ward) which is usually safe for the Tories.
However, the rapid rate of housing development in this region and concerns about the new Local Plan pushed through by the current councillors, might make voters think again.

Here in Checkley ward, there are seven candidates vying for three seats. As well as the usual Tory and Labour candidates, this time round there will also be a Green Party candidate (no Lib Dem though). Plus them, are two independents – Peter Wilkinson, who was formerly UKIP, and the former head-teacher Sandra Peck.
See the full list f candidates by clicking here.

Expect to get loads of leaflets through your letterboxes soon!

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Kiosk – good as new!

The lifeblood of the village is its voluntary groups – from the Women’s Institute to the local tennis teams (see our Links Page for a full list of local groups) – and one of them is making a real effort in Cresswell.

The Cresswell Community Group has taken on responsibility for the old telephone box there. This kiosk is now used as an information point, but also, more importantly, it houses the village defibrillator, which is for use when somebody goes into cardiac arrest.

So, when the bottom panel of the kisk’s door became so rotten that the door no longer closed properly, the group set to to finding funds to fix it and to find a competent joiner to carry out the work.

… all now nicely repared…

And, they stayed local – getting the money from the Draycott-in-the-Moors Solar Array Community Fund and hiring a tradesman who lived only 200 yards from the kiosk!
(To read the whole story, click here).
We’re happy to say: it now looks as good as new!

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New spot for memorial tree

The saga of Draycott Council’s WW1 Anniversary project continues, but it is not getting a lot better.

As we reported in our last post on the subject, the Council had had a memorial plant donated – which was then vandalised.
However, the plant has also now been refused permission to be in St Margaret’s churchyard… and instead has been placed in a rather odd spot, on some spare ground at the bottom of Church Lane.
Even though it is now some nine months since the WW1 commemorations were completed in the rest of the country, Draycott’s plant still has no memorial plaque.

 

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Compared to the efforts of all the nearby parish councils, and those across the rest of the country, Draycott’s contribution looks a bit sorry.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Potholes / rail history / fayre plea / elections soon

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

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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Return of the Potholes

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

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

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell.

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

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

Blythe Business Park potholes

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

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

So… drive carefully!

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Please help the Fayre

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

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

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

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

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

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

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

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Rail history coming to light

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

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

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Candidates required

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

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

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

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

And the best of British luck!!

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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: sad Brexiteer / useless police? / draughty shelters / give to the homeless

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid Dec 2018
In this post we have news of…: Sir Bill Cash’s set-back / useless police, say councillors / windows removed from bus shelters / how to donate locally to the homeless …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including carol concerts…  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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Bill’s disappointment

Sir Bill CashOne of the most disappointed men in Britain this week must be our very own MP, the Conservative Sir Bill Cash. (Sir Bill’s constituency covers the whole of Draycott and district).
Sir Bill (see pic right) is a ‘hard Brexiteer’, and was one of the first MPs to put his name down calling for a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May, the leader of his own party. However, as you probably know, although the vote was indeed eventually called, his side was easily defeated – and Theresa May continues as Conservative leader (and prime minister).

For 78 year-old Sir Bill, the current Brexit situation is a bitter one. He has spent the thirty-plus years of his parliamentary life opposing Britain’s presence in the European Union; and he detests the idea of even the ‘soft Brexit’ which now seems to be on the cards (maybe!).
He has literally filed thousands of questions in Parliament on the subject of Europe, and recently he has concentrated on it so much, he seems to be almost ignoring all other issues.

By the way, if you would like to speak in person to Bill, he is holding a surgery locally this Saturday (15th) -see our Local Events page for details.

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Not so much of a shelter now

It’s a case of now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t.
What has happened to the perspex windows in the bus shelters at the western end of Draycott Level?
The windows in the shelters at Stuart Avenue and outside The Golden Keg seem to have just … disappeared.

 

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Although there is currently no public bus service through Draycott (though there are hopes to being one back), the shelters are still used by children waiting for their school bus. The windows are a protection against wind, rain and snow.

So who authorised their removal? This was the question put by a member of the public at the last meeting of Draycott Council (because the council owns the two shelters).
The question also followed formal complaints to the council from residents not happy about the windows’ removal.

After a lot of fuzzy responses, the actual answer to the question finally arrived: one councillor, who had been asked to tidy up the shelters, took it upon himself to make the decision to take the windows out – without referring the matter back to the full council. He thought the windows were detrimental.
You’d think that that off-the-cuff act would slightly bother the rest of the councillors, wouldn’t you? But they were simply indifferent.
As for the complaints from the public about the matter, they were dismissed out of hand as spurious.

This is yet another case of Draycott councillors simply thinking that the public don’t need to be consulted. Because, in fact, there was indeed a useful debate to be had about whether the windows in the bus shelters should be removed – for instance, the perspex had got discoloured & ugly versus the fact that they do provide protection for the kids – and it would also be nice to even have such a debate!
So why wasn’t the matter put on the agenda of a public meeting in a proper fashion?

This simply illustrates that we do need new councillors – ones that will try to find out the public’s views on things, and communicate with electors on public issues, before they act.
There will be elections to Draycott Council in five months time – will YOU step forward and stand, and bring a fresh approach?

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Thoughts on local policing

At their last meeting, a few Draycott councillors said they had witnessed themselves drug-dealing taking place on Draycott Level. It was very clear to them what was going on.
But they also admitted that they had not informed the local police, or reported descriptions of the miscreants to Crimestoppers. The reason, they said, was that it wasn’t worth it – and no other councillor disagreed.

This is a sad reflection on the state of things today. When our leading citizens, as in this case, no longer trust the police to act on information about criminal behaviour, it’s a sorry lookout.
So… what do YOU think: are the local police really so useless?

We’ve put a poll on this page for you to give your opinion.
If you saw drug-dealing taking place locally, would you report it (even anonymously), or, like our councillors, think it just not worth it? What would you do?

In the meantime, we understand there were thefts from vans last week (the night of the 3rd & 4th Dec) in Stuart Ave, at the western end of Draycott. If you saw anything, you can call 101 to speak to the police or email our local PCSO james.naylor@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk.

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Help the homeless

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Homeless at Xmas

With all this political stuff going on, it’s almost hard to remember that this is the Christmas season. However, if you take a look at our What’s On pages, you’ll see lots of carol concerts within a three-mile radius, and even a pantomime!

St Mary’s Church in Cresswell thinks that it’s a time also to remember the needy. After their carol service on Sunday (16th Dec at 3pm) they’ll be accepting donations for the homeless.

Donations should be specific: what is needed are quilts, men’s socks & underwear (new), gloves, hats, scarves, basic toiletries, shower gel, deodorant etc.
Donations should be packaged in a sturdy bag, or cardboard boxes.
You are asked to give what you can.

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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)