Tag Archives: Draycott Neighbourhood Plan

Planning; planning; no-plan

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

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

Blythe Vale

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

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

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

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

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

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

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Cresswell roundabout

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

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

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Maybe this is the sticking point…?

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Houses by the railway?

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

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

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

– – –
Neighbourhood Plan, not…

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

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

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

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

(Roll on the 2019 local elections…!)

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

***
Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

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

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2018
In this post we have news of…: resignation of council chairman, neighbourhood plan sessions, council indifference to Cresswell, police surgeries, church sing-along …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a family tennis tournament…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Council resignation

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

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

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

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

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

– – –
Time for a sing-song

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

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

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

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

– – –
Planning neighbourliness

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

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

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

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

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Getting down with the police

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

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

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

– – –
Council Shenanigans

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

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

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

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

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

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

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

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

***
Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

NEWS: neighbourhood plan / church re-fit / bye to Bill? / Chandni 5*

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-January 2018
In this post we have news of…: repairs programme for St Margaret’s / Draycott to change MPs? / will YOU be part of plan process? / Chandni Cottage Restaurant report…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Valentines Ball…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Church’s birthday re-fit

You may have noticed that our parish church of St Margaret’s is currently covered in scaffolding. It turns out that this is all due to some necessary repairs ordered by the Church Of England authorities – and will cost a stinging £40,000…

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The 13th century church developed a leak in the roof a while back, which was fixed eventually by the church’s own volunteer project manager, John Clarke.  John is well-known for his unstinting efforts to keep the ancient church viable. (See the Saving The Bells story).

However, then along came the compulsory Church Of England ‘Quinquennial’ five-year review – and that report has demanded the repair of virtually the whole main roof. The trusted restoration experts, Midlands Conservation, are undertaking the work because of the great historical value of the building.
Fortunately, the church wardens at the church have been putting money by, so this won’t bust the bank, but it does mean fund-raising efforts (such as the Draycott Summer fayre) will have to be intensified.

Curiously, the refit comes just as the church is about to celebrate its 750th anniversary – which makes it a sort of birthday present!

– – –
Got a plan for our neighbourhood?

People in Draycott district have been kicking around the idea of developing a ‘neighbourhood plan’ for some years now.
Well, slowly, slowly, the Draycott Council has been progressing the idea. In fact, it now has formal approval for the project, and has been given a grant of £5000 to make it happen.

A ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ outlines what a local community wants to see for itself in the future – especially as regards large planning developments (for and against). The government supports the idea of NPs and gave them official backing in its Localism Act in 2011.
The most important thing about Neighbourhood Plans is that they give formal protection to what a district wants for itself – for the ways it views its green spaces and how new building projects should ‘fit in’ etc.

Next stage of the process here in Draycott is where YOU come in.
An open forum has been called for Fri 26 Jan (see details), and everyone in the district (including Cresswell, Totmonslow and Draycott Cross) is invited to come along to express views.
An expert will be on hand to explain more, and to outline how you can take part even more than just saying your piece, even how you can get to sit on the district committee if you want.checkley neighbourhood plan posterA number of other districts have already pushed ahead with neighbourhood plans and they say they do energise the community. Checkley & Tean have been particularly energetic (see pic above) – have a look at their website’s N Plan pages to find out more.

– – –
Goodbye to Sir Bill?

There now seems to be backing for a proposal to move Draycott district out of the Stone parliamentary constituency and into the Staffs Moorlands parliamentary constituency.
The government’s Boundary Commission has been taking public comments on the proposals and Staffs Moorlands councillors are the latest to come out in favour of the idea.

Sir Bill CashIf it goes through it would mean a change of MP for us, as we would move out of the remit of Sir Bill Cash (see pic right), and would find ourselves being represented instead by another Conservative MP, Karen Bradley, who currently holds the Staffs Moorlands constituency.

However – a lot of political commentators say the proposals have no chance of being accepted.
(So…bit of a waste of time really…!)

– – –
Chandni celebrates

Nice to see that Chandni Cottage, the Indian restaurant at the Blythe end of Draycott, has got a five-out-of-five rating for its food hygiene standards, following a visit from environment inspectors. It had a less than excellent rating the previous time inspectors visited, so they’ve done a fair job to turn it around.

Chandni CottageIt’s well deserved. Yasmeen Yacqub and her team have been in place ever since the restaurant opened in 1996, so they know the business well, and they know their customers well.
It was from listening to customer demand that they developed fat-free versions of most of their dishes, put together the recent refurbishment, and even organised a ‘diners club’ which enables members to taste cuisine from around the world.
Actually, the customers play a full part in the Chandni’s outlook – exemplified by one group of regulars, headed up by Andy Bird, who even go out on country walks to raise money for charity.
That would build your appetite up…!

***
Do you have news you’d like to see written up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

NEWS: confused? / police alerts / Queen b / cricket season

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early June 2016
News of…:  confusing planning consulations / new system for police community liaison / Queen’s birthday / Blythe team off the mark …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a digital photography class… Check out the Events page)

– – –
Bewildered?  We are.

There are now THREE processes ongoing about the future (planning-wise) of this district!!  And some of them overlap, so it’s sometimes confusing.

But this is how it was explained to us…
* The Blythe Park-Cresswell application for a new housing estate and huge (100%) expansion of the industrial park. This is now fully approved, and work can start when the builders like. Only a legal challenge can stop it now (see VVSM Action for details).  So… as far as we can do much just by writing a letter, it is done & dusted and in THE PAST.
The Staffs Moorlands ‘Site-Allocations’ Local Plan consultation.  This is about the amount of possible extra new housing (excluding the Cresswell housing estate – which is already approved), the possible travellers’ site, the creation of a second local industrial park (behind the houses on Uttoxeter Road).  Consultation period with us in the community ends on June 13th (click here for some tips).  So … this is about our IMMEDIATE FUTURE.
What is totally barmy here is that this consultation is asking us if we are happy with the idea of a Blythe Park industrial park expansion…. when that idea has already got approval!!  The planning department told us that it was “one of those unfortunate timing overlaps that do happen” and that whatever we say about the Blythe Park site now won’t count…!   Weird.
*  The Neighbourhood Plan consultation.  The NP is being initiated by Draycott Parish Council – but Staffordshire Moorlands District Council now wishes to know if we are happy with the idea of a Draycott-Cresswell neighbourhood plan even going ahead. The consultation on this runs until the end of this month. So… this is about the FUTURE FUTURE (so to speak!).

Site Allocations notice, CresswellTalking of consultation, thanks to LH who emailed us this picture (above).

On the tree is a poster (which you can barely see !), which is the official site-allocations notice, regarding sites OC55 and OCSS in Cresswell.
Now, as it is on a telegraph pole deep into to a hedgerow with no walking access, you kinda wonder if someone is trying almost to prevent us being able to read it….

– – –
Cricket off the mark

Thanks for all the kind comments about the report on Blythe Cricket Club’s building plans (our last article).

The First XI team themselves have not been doing so well, with a slow start to season. The team only had its first win at the end of May, but managed it at last – thanks to a great display from Matthew Goodwin, the Staffordshire player.  Matthew, who has now come back to Blythe from Moddershall Club, claimed six wickets for the loss of just 33 runs!

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

The set-up in the North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Cricket League has changed this year.  The First XI are now in the ‘new’ Division One, and the Second XI in Division 8.

– – –
Queen’s knees-up

It’s the official birthday of the Queen this coming weekend, and, as she is still the ‘Supreme Head’ of the Church of England, all Anglican churches are being asked to do something a bit special.

Our local Anglican church, St Margaret’s is holding a special service-of-celebration for the Queen on Sunday (12th) at 10am.
Church-goers can also attend a tea-and-cakes party in Draycott Church Hall on Saturday (ticket-only event).

– – –
Police & Community

One thing you may have noticed is that our monthly police and community liaison meetings (usually held at Blythe Bridge Library) have been dropped.  Now and again there will still be meetings, but not so regular.
There wasn’t much point in them to be honest, as hardly anyone attended them, so it was a bit of a waste of a police officer’s time.

They were useful though as a way of finding out the local crime situation. But… even that knowledge can now be found on the internet anyway: ‘Staffordshire Smart Alert’ has been introduced, which is a way of picking up such information via email, mobile-phone app, or by accessing the Smart Alert website.
Our local officer – PCSO Jon Staples – will even add in extras on there, such as Draycott-specific crime details, crime awareness and notice of local meetings (if and when they happen).

… we thought we’d check out the latest post from Smart Alert, and … it is a bit worrying – and a bit mysterious!
It says “It has been reported that offenders are gaining entry to vehicles via unknown means to commit theft of items contained within, without leaving any trace of forced entry. The owners wrongly believe that they may have left the vehicle unsecure.”
Very strange…
It’s even more important then not to leave valuable stuff in your car overnight…

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: road-holes / yoga / trolls / eggs…

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early May 2016
News of…:  potholes and collapsing road drain covers / a return to Blythe Colours for yoga / trolls in Draycott  / eggs galore!…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including the WI birthday party … Check out the Events page)

– – –
Drive (extra) carefully

Well, despite all the spin and soft words from the county council, Draycott’s roads seem to still have big issues.  It’s not just the potholes, though the one on the central junction is positively dangerous now, it seems to be drain covers – which are slowly collapsing.

Collapsed drain cover Draycott

The stretch out to the dual carriageway has three collapsing drain covers (see above for one), while the drain-cover on Cresswell Lane is getting deeper each day.  The trouble is that our car can’t avoid it, because the lane is so narrow there, you have to go over it whenever passing another vehicle.  The clunk is getting to be quite a familiar sound!  (And, yes, it has been reported!)

Cresswell litter

Litter spot on Cresswell Lane

Cresswell Lane suffers too from excess litter.  We counted over fifty bits of rubbish on the sides of the 100-yard stretch around the A50 bridge.  Parish councilor Roger Holdcroft has done a bit of research on this, and he is pretty sure that it’s anti-social motorists chucking their take-away wrappers and so on out of their cars as they pass.
Why the litter-bugs pick this section to do their dirty deeds is hard to know – or does the wind sweep all the paper and card into this area?

At one time, the Cresswell Residents Group used to go out and do community litter-picks – but the group folded a couple of years ago.
In fact, the matter of establishing a local community volunteer team was going to be raised at the recent Draycott Annual Assembly – but the meeting was stopped before anyone was allowed to raise any points other than those relating to planning. Shame.

– – –
Stretch those limbs!

Nice to see that the Tatsu Fitness Centre on Blythe Park goes from strength to strength.  As well as martial arts, which Tara and the team do so brilliantly, there is now a regular yoga class there.
Jayne Gregory, who got the class under way this week, is a local lass.  She told us that the room she and her learners will be using is the former Blythe Colour Works directors dining room  which had been sitting vacant for many years.   Jayne added that when she first went along to see the Tatsu Centre she went with her mum, who became quite emotional.
Jayne’s mother had worked at Blythe Colours for many years – and it was a mixture of nostalgia for what once was, sadness for the shame that it all had to close down, and happiness for what was to become of it, that left her feeling teary.
A lovely story.

You can find out more about Jayne’s yoga classes by clicking here.

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Omelettes anyone?

One thing you won’t go short of Draycott area is a nice dish of scrambled eggs…
Now that Spring is here at last, the chickens have started laying again, and some owners are allowing any extra eggs to be sold off.
Some enterprising householders even have a stall outside their homes!

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We had a delicious goose-egg from the house on Draycott Old Road.  It was ginormous, and made a brilliant breakfast.

– – –
Stop trolling

You wouldn’t think that you would get ‘trolls’ in a little village like Draycott, but they must be everywhere.
‘Trolls’ are people, usually anonymous, who like to write spiteful or offensive messages to public figures, usually on the internet.

However, the Draycott Neighbourhood Plan questionnaires, that were posted though residents’ letterboxes last month, have attracted a few trolls too.

We had this letter from Draycott parish councillor, Roger Holdcroft:
“…Dear Parishioners, I write to ask, “Why do we bother?”
I refer to the not inconsiderable amount of time given up by members of the Parish Council to attend meetings, read communications and make considered judgements about the future of our Parish.  They give of their time willingly and gladly, believing in what they do.
One can only question this commitment when one reads comments placed on our recent questionnaire about a possible Neighbourhood Plan.

One resident remarked that Parish Councillors were not “sufficiently intelligent” to make considered judgements on planning issues.  I find this assertion to be insulting, considering the background of some members of the Council and the wealth of experience of others.
The same resident recorded that they wished for plans for the Parish to include “the building of gas chambers for Councillors”.
I find this comment grossly offensive and totally inappropriate on such a document.  My feelings reach out for the Parish Clerk who received this return and was the first to read it.

As I said above, the Parish Councillors believe in what they do and are committed to it.
Fortunately, other returned questionnaires were much more appropriate and the comments included will be given due consideration.
Equally the attendance at the Annual Parish Assembly and the manner in which residents raised issues reassured me of the importance of continuing with our efforts and convinced me of the good reasons for ‘Why we bother’.
Cllr Roger Holdcroft…”

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