Tag Archives: draycott in the moors

News of: council tax / hat-trick / ancient election / VVSM joy

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2013

We have news of:  no rise in council tax; your chance to vote in an ancient election; hat-trick for Dan Rooksby; and VVSM celebrations over business park.
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Some good news about tax…

Most of us have had notices through the letter-box now, telling us what the council tax will be this year. The good news is that we’ll be paying more or less the same as last year – in other words, a slight drop in real terms (taking inflation into account).
This is because most of the relevant authorities whom we have to pay the council tax to have decided on no rises.

Our own parish council, Draycott-in-the-Moors PC, had originally sought an increase (see previous post), but after discussion, and in view of the economic climate, has also decided to remain at last year’s level.
This means that (with the ‘District Council grant’ added on) Draycott PC will receive £6,703 this year, of which £6,187.28 comes directly from council tax.

For more info, see Council Tax 2013/14 in the Staffordshire Moorlands / What Parish Council in Staffordshire Moorlands will receive 2013/14

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Want to be an ancient police officer?

One of the weirdest things about ancient English traditions is that some really are still on the statute book.  For example, did you know that church wardens at a local parish church still have the legal power to arrest anyone misbehaving within the church confines?  Strange – but true.

The other strange thing is that anyone – including you and me – has the right to elect such church wardens.
Here in Draycott you don’t have to be a member of St Margaret’s Church, or even religious… Anyone over 16 who lives in the parish has the right to take part in the elections.

If you’d like to exercise your ancient right, the Annual Meeting of Parishioners (also know as the ‘Annual Vestry Meeting’) is where it all happens; and this year it takes place at 11.30am on Sunday April 14th at St Margaret’s.
The meeting is followed immediately by the AGM of the Parochial Church Council.  For details email the PCC Secretary

You have to love these ancient rights and traditions…!

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Marksman Dan

The astonishing Dan Rooksby has really hit form again for Draycott Potter FC.   Another brilliant display from him (with yet another hat-trick!) saw the Potters recently beat Blacksmiths Arms 8-4 to get through to the semi-finals of the Uttoxeter Sunday Charity Cup.
They must now have a realistic chance of lifting the trophy…

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Cheers all round

The members of the VVSM Action Group must be celebrating this week – after learning that some of their hard work has had a very successful result.

As you may know, there has been a big consultation about the Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s proposed ‘Core Strategy’.  As part of this, the council were suggesting that further expansion of the Blythe Business Park in Cresswell would be no bad thing.
VVSM disagreed with that point of view – and explained their case in person at last month’s official hearing into the strategy.

The inspector has now reported back his findings; and he clearly agreed with VVSM in his report:
“The support for the expansion of the Blythe Business Park is not justified in the supporting text.  The evidence indicates 70ha of employment land available in rural areas (over 56ha with planning permission) [doc MC(5)], and the location of the site is within a Special Landscape Area (Local Plan, Policy N8).
There is no evidence before this Examination to indicate that account has been taken of the proximity and potential impact on the neighbouring settlement of Cresswell, or that the known toxicity of industrial waste has been acknowledged as part of the process of determining whether the principle of expansion is feasible or desirable.”

Well, it seems VVSM must have put a forceful case!

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Ken Shelley passes away

The sad news has come through that Ken Shelley, a stalwart of Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council and from a long line of Shelleys to have lived in this district, has died.

Ken Shelley

Ken Shelley, who believed in Draycott

Ken, who described himself as a semi-retired farmer, served as chairman of the parish council for thirty years, and and latterly (until May 2012) as vice-chairman.
All in all he served on the parish council for over forty years; and was still attending meetings as a member of the council even this year. He was proud to be a Draycott man.

Ken joined the PC in October 1969, filling the vacancy left by the death of his father Frederick, who had served on the council for 32 years. Ken went on to serve for 43 years, 30 of them as chairman and 3 as vice-chairman.
His proudest moment no doubt was the opening of St Margaret’s Court, the sheltered-housing bungalows complex, which was completed after a long campaign.
However, a low moment was the closure of the Draycott Primary School, despite major efforts to save it.

He was very attached to St Margaret’s Church, and proudly carried the title of its Tower-Master, meaning he had charge of the ringing of the church’s bells. Among the bells in the tower was one donated before the war by the Shelley family.

Details of the funeral will be announced soon; when Ken will be laid at rest with his wife Dorothy, who died two years ago, in the St Margaret’s Churchyard.

Wind turbine for Draycott?

The planning applications page for Draycott makes interesting reading this week.

The very newest application is one for the erection of a wind turbine in the very south of Draycott’s area, almost down to Hilderstone, at New Buildings Farm. (See:  New Buildings Farm application).

Proposed turbine at New Buildings Farm

An artist’s mpression of how the proposed turbine at New Buildings Farm will look

Wind turbines generate electricity, and are part of the drive in this country to produce at least 15% of the nation’s energy through ‘renewable sources’.  Local councils have a compulsory duty to consider developments that combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t controversial!
As many of us will know, a recent application for a giant turbine (130 metres high) at nearby Checkley was turned down; and there’s concern now from residents near Uttoxeter about an application for a 78 metre high one at Spath.

Some people think they look lovely – like big white windmills -, and some people think they are eyesores on the landscape.

Application

The one proposed for New Buildings Farm is small by comparison with the one at Uttoxeter – it’s 40 metres (132 feet) to the tip.
The farm is out in the wilds, on the stretch between Cresswell and Hilderstone, on a ridge looking down on to Bromley Wood.  (See:  Google map)
The farm has the New Buildings Dog Kennels within its site – and a public footpath/track – but there are very few houses nearby.
Conservationists will want to look at any impact on the local landscape though.

By coincidence (perhaps?) this application comes just weeks after Staffordshire County Council published its policy guidelines on what sort of wind turbine developments it is more likely to allow.
In fact, the New Buildings Farm application falls within these county council guidelines – being small enough and (possibly) non-disruptive enough.  Actually, a similar application (for a wind turbine in Rudyard) was approved just last month.

Comment on the application

So, it looks like this turbine falls within the planning guidelines for ‘more acceptable’ applications – but it still has to get formal approval even so.
The next stage is that Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish council will discuss it.  If you have views that you’d like the parish council to know of, you can go to the November parish council meeting and speak in the open-participation slot. As of the date of the writing of this article, the PC had not received the application, but you can still have a say if you wish.
We have already heard from some environmentalists who strongly support the idea of wind turbines in remoter spots such as this one, and who say they will be expressing their support for it.

Also, online comments are welcomed in the Comments section of the relevant Staffordshire Moorlands planning application page.
Or – you can comment too on the local VVSM Residents’ Group website. VVSM takes an active interest in planning developments in Draycott.

Related links
Staffordshire Moorlands District  Council’s policy on Climate Change and Renewable Energy
New Buildings Farm Wind Turbine Application
Staffordshire County Council policy statement on large scale wind energy

Vast housing estate for Draycott… nearly

We’ve had a fascinating note from Matt Pointon, the local man who wrote the definitive history of this area (click here for details of the book).
He has found a map (see below) dating from 1935, showing where a vast housing estate was planned to be built in Draycott.

Draycott planning map 1935

Uttoxeter Road runs along the bottom of the map – from Stuart Avenue to St Margaret’s.  Etched in on dotted lines, above Draycott Old Road, you can see the planned shape of the new estate – stretching half a mile northwards!

Matt wrote this account of his discovery…
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Attached is a photo of a Sewerage Disposal Plan (c.1935) which I found in the attic of my grandfather’s house some years ago. The original is now in the Record Office at Hanley.
What is interesting is that it shows extensive proposed developments for Draycott-in-the-Moors, which would have easily quadrupled the village in size.

As you can see from the plan, there were housing developments proposed in the fields behind the school, and on the field where the present summer fetes are held, and also across the road instead.
I imagine, from the street plan and time of the plans, these would have been for semi-detached residences similar to Stuart Avenue.

Small school – big fields…

Interestingly, the school is also proposed here – and that actually got built (to the same plan as on the proposals). It has long been a subject of conjecture as to why such a large field was allocated for such a small school, but if the school was actually built ready to service such an extensive housing estate then I think the answer is now obvious.

Also, as an aside, several years back one of the parish councillors told me that no one knows who actually owns the field backing onto Draycott Old Road. I suggest that it might be a development company or even the council, who bought it in preparation for the developments.

This of course, now leaves us with the question of why the proposed housing estate never got built when both the school was built and land was purchased.
The obvious solution is that the war intervened. Or, maybe the development company went bust and that particular asset was forgotten about?

Finally, why would my granddad have such a plan in his loft?
Well, he was a town planner for Cheadle Rural District Council before the war. After the war he planned and designed Rookery Crescent, which of course, would probably never have been needed had this lot been built!

As for me personally, I’m glad it didn’t – as it would have ruined the village far more than any power station in Cresswell, so we have one thing to thank Adolf for I suppose.

(This is not dealt with in my book because I couldn’t find the chart at the time).

Matt Pointon

Potential housing sites cause concern

The latest newsletter from the VVSM residents’ group highlights the recent publication by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council of its ‘Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment’ – or  SHLAA for short.

It’s a long title, but, briefly, the SHLAA identifies potential plots for house-building.
It’s important to recognise that these are not plots of land singled out by planners, but are simply plots that some landowner and/or developer has indicated that they would like to start building on if they could get permission.
Potential sites in this area have been marked on maps that can be found on the council’s website.

On one of these maps you can see that – for our locality – there are marked sites all along the residential parts of Sandon Road in Cresswell, while in Draycott itself there are sites marked next to St Margaret’s Church and behind Draycott College, including its playing fields.
Poor old Totmonslow is off the map, so we can’t tell you if any sites are identified there!
If you want to see our exact map for yourself, just click here (the map opens as a pdf, then scroll down to page seven).

The council’s ‘site-details’ reports also make for sobering reading.
To be honest, we didn’t fully understand the implications of them (would someone try to explain these to us?) but The Housing Availability Assessment, which mentions Draycott on page 10, and the Individual Site Assessments reports – which mention all the pinpointed sites in Draycott-in-the-Moors as well as across other rural parts of the Moorlands – are definitely compulsory reading for anyone interested in the development of this area.
(By the way the Individual Site Assessments report is nearly 400 pages long, so it takes four minutes to download as a pdf.  To find Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow sites, you really should do a ‘search’ for the relevant word, eg ‘Cresswell’).

The council however is bound to take seriously these enquiries; and so the SHLAA is a definite part of the District Council’s ‘Core Strategy plan’ – which was forwarded to the Government Inspector last month.

Concerns

VVSM is clearly concerned about not just the number of these sites marked on the SHLAA, but the type of site – some of which they regard as highly unsuitable for environmental reasons.
It also is unhappy about how the whole housing consultation process works.

…so what happens next?

Well, a district council officer told us that the ‘best’ sites will eventually be selected by them (a number have already been deemed unsuitable and yet more are likely to be rejected) – and then a public consultation on these more suitable sites will be undertaken. This will take place next year.

So – in theory – nothing should happen before we hear about it. However, if you too are concerned, it is worth checking out VVSM’s views – click here.

Of course, new build does go on in Draycott – and, after all, the country does need more houses…

Building on the Bird in Hand site

New houses are going up on the site of the now-demolished Bird In Hand pub (on the road going to Hilderstone)

Down at the southern-most end of Draycott,  new houses stand where the old Bird In Hand once stood.

Community Conversation

You may remember however that many of us discussed this very issue of housing allocation in the so-called Community Conversations which were held last year. Members of the Draycott and Cresswell communities were asked to attend public discussions on these matters.

Well, the records of those two discussions have at last been published. The summary of the Draycott discussions can be seen by clicking here (Draycott was lumped in with Blythe Bridge and Forsbrook) while the Cresswell discussion summary can be seen by clicking here.

Frankly, we don’t think the notes are very easy to understand unless you were there, so if you are a bit doubtful about what they mean, it is worth contacting your favourite parish councillor and asking him/her to explain them. Parish councillors were monitoring both meetings.

Still, they make interesting reading (if you like this kind of thing!), especially the ideas about what particular sites might suit development (or not!).
As the summaries have only just been put online, there is not been time for a comment about them from either VVSM or the Parish Council (or indeed the rest of us).
We’re looking forward to reading the reactions…

If you too have a comment, please use the comments box below…

Draycott Photo: Small animals for sale

How small would a miniature piglet be, do you think?  JC spotted this sign at Grange End Farm on Cheadle Road…

Grange End Farm, draycott

Small animals for sale – with a smile!

As well as a sign saying Hens For Sale, the other one reads Miniature Piglets For Sale.
Seriously though, if you are thinking of keeping small animals, this may be a good place to seek advice!

If you would like to submit a photo or short video for this Photo spot, please get in touch

News: footpaths, better bus service, raffle winners & more

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in September 2012.

We have news of:   footpath problem; Kevin’s national treasure; St Margaret’s Summer Fayre raffle winners; better bus service; Grace Edge – and more.
(There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Direct bus to Hanley (or Uttoxeter)

Great news for those without a car is that Wardle’s Buses are now putting on a service that runs through Draycott directly to Hanley (and to Uttoxeter in the other direction). This is the first time in many years that there has been such a direct service. In fact, the last time might be when the rail-station at Cresswell closed down!
While the service, the X50, has been around for some time, it has just had its route altered to take in Draycott and Tean.

The first bus in the morning from Draycott – at 7.30am – gets you into Hanley for 8.10am, which is pretty good we think. However, sadly, the last bus back from Hanley to Draycott is 5.15pm, which might be a little too early for most workers. Still, students will find that bus useful.

Incidentally, don’t get as confused as we did by looking at the wrong (www.wardletransport.co.uk) website. This is an old, rogue website.
Use the new, official one – www.wardletransport.com. The two look similar, but are quite different in fact.

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Footpath confirmed

The County Council’s officers responsible for footpaths have stepped into the Huntley Wood issue.

As we’ve already reported, people entering Huntley Wood (which runs along the northern border of the Draycott in The Moors district) have been trespassing off the official footpath, and it was feared they could hurt themselves in the old quarry-workings, or even in the excavations caused by the construction work going on up there (to build a new outdoor recreation centre).

Huntley Wood path

Huntley Wood path showing a new way-post and marker – and some of the new saplings that have been planted

Now the path, which runs through the wood from Huntley Lane to Harplow Lane, has plenty of nice, bright, shiny, yellow official way-markers along it, put there by the County Council officers.
Sadly, at one big fork in the path, one can see that someone has already tried to rip down the way-marker. This is not only illegal of course, but foolish, as a new walker could choose the wrong fork – and go straight into the dangerous old quarry workings.

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Lucky folk

The winners of the raffle that took place at the Draycott Summer Fayre have been announced.

The top prize of Alton Towers tickets went to Phyllis Sales. Well done, Phyllis!

Other winners included:  S Anderson, Jenny Passey, R Johnstone, Sue Robinson, Joan Johnson, Kirstie Milnes, Gordon Winfield, Madeleine James, G Fletcher, Redman, Jones John Beardmore.

Among the local businesses sponsoring the raffle were: Stottard’s, Queen’s Arms, Freehay; Shoetime, Blythe Bridge;  Mount Nurseries, Spot Gate; Draycott Plant Nurseries;  Toby Carvery, Endon.

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He’s a treasure…

A Draycott man has had an honourable mention in a ’50 Greatest’ list carried out by Independent Television (ITV).
In 2003, Kevin Blackburn was one of four men to be out metal-detecting near Uttoxeter when they came across the object now known as the ‘Staffordshire Moorlands Pan’, which dates to around 200AD. The pan is in fact a Roman bowl.

Kevin’s discovery has now been listed by ITV as one of the Fifty Greatest National Treasures discovered in the past 15 years.
To read more about Kevin’s discovery, click here

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Goodbye to Grace

Many of us may remember Grace Edge, who lived with her husband Bill in Cresswell for most of her life.  She was well-known as she worked in the canteen at Blythe Colours for many years.  She died last month aged 91, and her funeral was attended by many many fond friends.
She has now been buried in St Margaret’s Church graveyard.  May she rest in peace.

*To comment on any of these stories, or suggest some new ones, just use the comments box below

Draycott photo – ‘Flower display’

This photo, which was sent to us this week, shows that it’s still possible to grow a glorious garden despite the present crazy weather.

Glorious colour in this garden

And everyone can see this display for themselves because this garden is on the roadside – at Meadowside Farm on Uttoxeter Road (not far from The Mango Tree restaurant).  Free entertainment!

If you would like to submit a photo or short video for this Photo spot, please get in touch

Fire at Blythe Business Park was “deliberate”

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

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

Blythe Park fire

Fire officers were on the scene quickly

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

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

Blythe Park fire

The blaze was intense

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

Blythe Park fire

A fire engine at the incident

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

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

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

Draycott sport, sport – and sport!

Well, it may have been a lousy summer in terms of weather, but, for our local teams, it’s been a year of almost soaraway success.
This summer has seen high profiles for Draycott in The Moors’ cricket, also bowls, then of course tennis and even cycling efforts. Plus – there’s now a welcome return for football
Let’s have a look at what’s happening in all those sports, one by one.

Tennis

It’s certainly turning into a remarkable year for the Draycott Men’s Tennis team  – managed by coach Craig Leese – which has shot up to the top of the main Staffordshire Tennis League Premier Division with only a few matches to go till the end of the season.  The deciding match is on Sunday 19th August at the Draycott ground. It will be a tense occasion.
Of course, the side really is a formidable one anyway. Last year they won the ‘Quadruple’ – the city and county leagues and the two cups – so they know what success is all about.

It seems unlikely now that the Draycott Women’s Tennis team will match them to be champions too (in the Ladies Staffordshire Tennis League Premier Division,  but they have battled there or thereabouts this season – and it will be an exciting run-in for them for the runners-up spot!

Ryan Baxter

Fifteen year old Ryan Baxter, runner-up in the Draycott Open

Incidentally, congratulations are due to Jamie Bourne (Hilderstone) who took the men’s singles title in the Draycott Open Tennis Tournament in mid-August, just sneaking past his fellow finalist Ryan Baxter (Trentham).  Ryan is just 15 years old.
(The women’s singles did not take place this year).

Cricket

As we’ve already reported, the Blythe Cricket Club First XI has reached mid-table safety in the NSSCL Division 1A, and look to have settled for that. After a rocky start to the season, the team has done a great job in pulling itself together.

But the women’s team are flying the flag too – with a stunning performance in the Div 2 (North West) of The Midlands League, where they are currently top. Go Ladies!

Bowls

Local people often forget that there is an excellent bowls green here in Draycott, on the Blythe Park Business Base.  Although based here, the bowls club (by an historical oddity) are called ‘Checkley’ Bowls Club.
Once again, it’s a story of great success.  The A team look set for promotion into the Uttoxeter & District Bowls League First Division and the B and C teams are also flourishing.
As the new secretary Sue Stepek told us, the club’s also now got a qualified coach in their midst, and the addition is clearly making a difference…

Cycling – and more

We said that cycling was also doing well. Erm, that was a little bit of over-enthusiasm from us, as the club only started up two months ago, and is yet to form a competitive team as such.
However, don’t tell that to the dozen or so men and women who meet every Sunday at Draycott Sports Centre (9am start) to bike the local lanes and byways.
What with the success of British cycling recently, this club is sure to grow – for further information, contact Draycott Sports Centre.

Incidentally, if you prefer ‘sport’ of a gentler kind, a weekly Tai Chi For Beginners class starts up at Draycott Sports Centre on 18th September (7.15pm start) – for further information, contact Draycott Sports Centre.

Phew!

And, as if that’s not enough, football returns in two weeks (on September 2nd). After a very successful year last season, the Draycott Potter side will want to see more of us as spectators on Sundays at their Cresswell Old Road ground.
We’ll bring you a fixture list as soon as we have one.

All in all, we think you’ll agree that there is enough sport around to keep any spectator – or participant – happy.
We hope that you too are enjoying this summer of sport (between the rain showers!)

If you have any news, or sports organisation reports, just contact us and we’ll happily publicise it on this site.