Tag Archives: lower newton solar farm

NEWS: Xmas fest / Blithe project / darts! / community cash

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-November 2017
In this post we have news of…: Christmas tree festival / River Blithe clean-up / 50 up for Phyllis / darts at the Arms / community fund pay-out…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of Xmas events!!. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Get in the Christmas (tree) spirit

The people of Draycott come together as a community too little sadly, but one time they definitely do bond is for the annual village Christmas Tree Festival.
This is a great project – as it allows anyone from the district & surroundings to decorate a small Christmas tree and enter it into a display.

A lot of people who enter into the spirit of the project have a theme in their decoration, whether it’s to highlight the good work of a local organisation, or to spread general thoughts of goodwill. It’s not a religious thing necessarily – you choose the look and the ‘message’ for yourself.

Draycott Christmas Fest 2014 6

The trees are along the two side aisles of the church making them easy to see

There’s no big hassle to it either. Your family could decorate a small tree (real or artificial, but it must be under 4 feet high) any time over the next day or two – and then simply deliver it to St Margaret’s Church during Saturday (2nd December) – the day the organisers are accepting the trees.
The exhibition of trees then stays up in the church (during which time the building is open to the public during the afternoon) from Sunday 3rd until Sunday 10th.

It’s all free too: no fee to enter a tree, and no fee to get into the church to see the exhibition. If you need more details email Pauline Clarke, but, really, it’s as easy as that.
To see the full details of ‘rules’, click here.
Go on. You know you want to!

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Money in time for Christmas

It’s taken quite a while, but at last money from the ‘Newton Solar Array Community Fund’ is being distributed. This is the money set aside by the company that runs the solar farm near Totmonslow, as a sort of gift to our community for any disruption caused, and comes to about £2000 per year.
The company has entrusted Draycott Council with the cash, to hand out as the councillors see fit.

Well, the first round of applications has now been completed, and the winners are:
Draycott Church & Community Hall, which receives £500 toward the cost of new fireproof curtains
Lee Warburton, a local resident, who has asked for £285 toward the cost of installing new floral planters in the village
The Draycott Speed Watch Group, which will get £350 to purchase a radar-gun when it formally starts up
Councillor Steve Jones, who asked for £300 to be used to fund a project in Draycott for children
Another request for £1000 as part-payment against Mary Edwards’ project to re-surface part of Church Lane (see our story about this) was put on hold while more information was sought
Some other requests were either withdrawn or postponed until the next round of applications.

Steve’s project is probably the most intriguing one. He has set up a youth group called ‘Gaming Potion’, which aims to get kids off smartphones & gaming consoles and into ‘real’ hands-on games.  The idea is to arrange occasional day-long events over the next year or so, to be held at Draycott Church Hall – one is already arranged for late December (see our Events page) .  He’s also looking for volunteers who like tabletop gaming to help out.

It’s great to see the community-fund being taken up like this. If you feel that you have a project which would benefit, just click here and fill out the form.
The next lot of applications will be considered in the new year.

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A different kind of streaming

Officials from the South Staffordshire Water Company may have been reading this website when they came up with their latest idea.
We wrote a story last month mentioning that the River Blithe (which runs right down from Draycott & Cresswell to Tittesworth Reservoir and then to Rugeley), was not in great condition.

Cresswell Bridge silt

River Blithe passes under Cresswell Bridge

Well SSW are now offering grants up to £10,000 to farmers who have land around the course of this river – if they take part in a land improvement scheme.
It sounds really worthwhile.

For more info, phone Nina at SSW on 01922 638282; and if you are a farmer who decides to take part, will you let us know how it goes?

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Arrows at the Arms

The refurbishment at the Draycott Arms pub has been moving along nicely – so much so that a darts team is now making regular use of the snug.

The Draycott Arms team is doing rather well too, holding a mid-table position in the Ipstones Darts League – though organiser Andy Bird does point out that “we don’t take it TOO seriously; it’s more about fun and getting together really”.

The team, which is made up of both men and women, could do with a couple more members in the squad however.
Are you free on occasional Tuesday evenings? Do you think you could throw an ‘arrow’ straight enough? (Well, straight enough not to damage the surrounding paintwork..?!!).
Just email Zara at the Arms, or just drop in, and you’ll get a friendly welcome – as well as more information.

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Fifty years in the Institute

And finally… congratulations to Phyllis Sales, a lady who, when she commits to something, really does commit!

This month, Phyllis celebrates fifty years as a member of the Draycott Women’s Institute. Being a member has probably kept her as young as she is…
(Wouldn’t it be great if other members collated some of her memories, to add to the village’s treasure trove of recent history?)

The Draycott branch of the Women’s Institute meets monthly to hear talks and organise worthwhile projects.
It’s been expanding recently, so if you’d like to join up with a nice bunch of people, just email them for information.
Only one membership rule though: you do have to be a woman…!

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

NEWS: speedwatch group / money available / fun nights ahead / history book

In this post we have news of…: Speedwatch group for Draycott level / community fund deadline / a rockin’ time for all coming up! / local history book is back … …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Remembrance Poppy Ball. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Draycott speed watch

Good news! Enough people have now volunteered in order to make the formation of a Draycott Speedwatch group possible. Although Cresswell has had a Speedwatch group for over five years, so far it’s been hard to raise the necessary enthusiasm for a sister one in Draycott.
This good news because if there’s one thing that residents report a lot it’s the excessive speeds of some motorists roaring along Draycott Level.

Speedwatch groups work with the local police, and are issued with official jackets and radar guns. This gives them the right to stand on the roadside and monitor the speeds of local passing motorists. They report the worst offenders.

You may have seen the thoughtful comment by Zara Hutson, the owner of The Draycott Arms. She says: “We are the only village in the area that doesn’t have some form of speed-reducing features – along the straightest and fastest stretch around! Everywhere else has humps, bumps, islands and lights, but Draycott doesn’t even have a mid-point (traffic island) for crossing halfway at a time.
“The speed some people abuse this at is terrifying.
“For me the new housing development itself are good things – a slightly bigger population will hopefully kick start a community that has stagnated. However, the access for the development at that (eastern) end of Draycott needs reviewing first, along with traffic calming measures throughout.”

If you think you can spare an hour every fortnight and join the Speedwatch group, contact Kate Bradshaw. Kate, who lives on Draycott Level herself, has very strong views about speed, and also thinks extra houses at Blythe Vale will cause an issue. The development, she says: “…would cause carnage … it is totally in the wrong place because of its proximity to traffic coming off the roundabout.”

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History book re-issued

As we reported before, all the books about the history of this district (a History Of The Parish of Draycott-en-le-Moors by Matthew Pointon) recently sold out.

Cover of Draycott history bookHowever, Mathew tells us he is still getting requests for copies, so he is now doing his best to satisfy the late-comers. He’s arranged an account on Lulu.Com (the self-publishing website) – which means the book is newly available!
Fortunately for us, Matthew is disregarding inflation rises since the first publication and is keeping the cover price at £10 – though VAT and p&p will push the cost up slightly. To order a copy, just click on here and follow the prompts.

Those of you who would prefer an e-book/Kindle version may want to wait a couple of weeks though. Matthew is in the process of figuring how that might work!

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Lots of local events to go to

As is usual at this time of year, suddenly there are loads of events being announced. As most of them are in walking distance (almost), you don’t even need a car to get to them!

Half-term is always good for kids round here of course with kids’ sports camp days in Cresswell, and soccer sessions in Blythe Bridge. (This latter venture is being funded by Forsbrook parish council – nice to see a parish council being so pro-active).
However, it’s not just about kids: for the adults, there are quizzes, dances, rock concerts, talks and more, all within a three-mile radius. Don’t forget the fireworks display at Forsbrook too.swinging sixties band with dr shevlin

And if you want a night for memories: howazbout a Swinging Sixties gig? If anybody remembers Doctor Shevlin, who worked at both Tean and Blythe Bridge surgeries, it’s good to report that retirement has not slowed him down – he is the guitarist with the ‘Swinging Sixties’ band (see pic above)…!

To check all the details of all the local events over the next couple of months, just click here.

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Apply now to community fund

It has been a long time in coming, but finally money from the local Solar Farm Community Fund is going to be handed out.
This is the money donated every year by the owners of the solar farm in Newton (Cresswell), to be used to underwrite community ventures across the Draycott civil-parish area (which includes Totmonslow, Cresswell, Draycott Cross etc).
Our local area-council has the task of sorting through the applications and choosing the best initiatives.

So far, only one set of applicants has managed to meet all the criteria: the committee of the Draycott Community Hall (aka the old Church Hall) in Church Lane has asked for £500 to help them install some insulating & flame-proof curtains. Anyone who knows the church hall will know how huge those windows are, and £500 won’t even pay half the cost of curtains for them, though it will help of course.

Draycott Church Hall windows

One of the Draycott Church Hall windows

If you thinking that you have an idea to improve the local community, the deadline to apply for the current round of grants is November 10th. Check out how to apply by clicking here.

***
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

How would you spend £4000?

Can you think of ways of spending £4000 for the benefit of the Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow community?
Believe it or not, this money is now sitting in the bank account of the Draycott Parish Council just waiting for good ideas from local people about what to do with it.

Solar farm

One of the best things about the vast solar energy farm in Cresswell is that, when it was being built, the developers promised that they would give over a percentage of the profits from it to the local community.
Well, almost two years have gone by since the farm went ‘live’ and started producing electricity. So, the current owners of the project, REG (Renewable Energy Generation) Power Management (who took on the project from Novus Solar, the kick-starters) have at last come good on the promise.
A grant of £4000, covering the first two years of operation, has now been paid over.

Draycott Parish Council must now decide on what are the most viable and most useful suggestions for what to do with the money, either in full or as a partial grant.  The only stipulation is that any suggestions must benefit the wider community of our district.
If you or an organisation you belong to thinks this is an opportunity – well, this is the time to put thinking caps on!

Pub-talk

A few of us were sitting in the pub, and we were kicking the thought around; and these are just a few of the ideas we came up with. See what you think…

#   One scheme that has been talked about for some years now, but has never got off the ground, is the idea of lighting up the exterior of St Margaret’s Church for a few hours a night. The idea would be to provide a great view for miles around of our oldest building.

St Margaret's Church, Draycott

St Margaret’s Church has stood on the hill overlooking Draycott for nearly a thousand years

#   Our community could do with more volunteer effort – local people to look after public flower-beds, to organise litter-picks, to go check on our more isolated neighbours, to organise village get-togethers.  How about using some of the money to set up a local voluntary effort scheme?
#   Other villages have a village sign on a totem pole, carved especially.  How about commissioning a sculptor to carve one for us?
#   The problem of motorists chucking their litter out of their cars as they go along Cresswell Lane is getting worse.  How about using the money to pay for a ‘Please Don’t Dispose of Your Litter Here!’ sign for the road?
#   The book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors is all but sold out.  How about ordering a re-print?
#   Installation of a defibrillator in the Draycott Junction telephone box?
#   A simple grant to the running costs of our local First Responders?
#   History enthusiasts will know that a few decades ago, the Draycott Women’s Institute did a brilliant survey of the graves in St Margaret’s Church old churchyard.  It’d be great to see a survey done of the old graves at St Mary’s Church in Cresswell too!
#   Some of the footpath stiles and kissing-gates in our area are in sore need of repair.  Could some money be put to that?

Do you have any suggestions to add?  If you do, just use the comments-box at the bottom of this page.

Church Lane

One idea that already has gained traction is that of using the money to pay for the repair of the surface of Church Lane.  This little un-made track up to St Margaret’s Church has so many potholes in it that there are more holes in it than road!  Some funeral directors are even saying that they will soon refuse to take their expensive hearses up this track.

Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors

Should community cash be used to repair Church Lane, Draycott in the Moors?

Using the community money to improve the surface of this track does seem fraught with problems though.  It’s an ‘unadopted’ road, so the Highways Department has no responsibility for it, so the question really is… shouldn’t the church, the house-owners living alongside the track, and even the farmer who sends his tractors up along it, actually pay for the repair of this track, or at least pay the lion’s share?  It’s a thorny question.

Apply…

Within the next months, the clerk to Draycott Council will be formally inviting local organisations and individuals to make suggestions.  We will let you know when this happens as soon as we know.

***
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: break-in / public spirit / solar arrays / tidy village

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid October 2015
News of…:  thieves strike in Draycott / latest on Blythe Park application / another solar farm on the way? / police thank residents / congratulations to Fulford …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Christmas Crafts Fair. Check out the Events page)

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Yet another vehicle break-in

We’ve been mentioning on this website for a while now, on and off, that there seems to be a spate of petty thieving going on locally.  The police say it’s down to small gangs of thieves driving over from Stoke-on-Trent to look for opportunities to make off with ‘portable’ items.
They seem pretty brazen too.  One resident told us he went outside his home when he heard some banging in the street, around 9pm, only to see some lads trying to force open his van! They ran off of course.

But, last night (14th October) thieves did manage to actually break into a van – parked on the owner’s drive – in Draycott Old Road, taking power-tools. Anyone with information should call the police on 101 – quoting incident number 0113.
The moral of the story is of course: if you see something suspicious going on, try to get what details you can, and phone the police.

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Public-spirited

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that the police were so impressed by the public spirit of some of the residents of Draycott that they have gone on record saying how grateful they are to them.
Some local people took part in the search to find a missing person, the unfortunate Michael Heath, whose body was eventually found last week in wooded areas at back of Draycott Old Road.  Mr Heath had enjoyed camping in the area when he was alive.

The death of Mr Heath, who came from Blythe Bridge, is not being seen as suspicious.

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More solar planning planned

The success of the solar-panels array at the Lower Newton Solar-Panels Complex between Totmonslow and Cresswell has led other local land-owners to consider installing them.

Solar farm (on Creative Licence)

This is a photo of panels on a typical solar farm.

They use up otherwise under-developed land, create some income for the hard-pressed farmers,  provide more supply for the country’s electricity needs –  and it’s claimed they can even provide a little help in fending off climate change.
Just off Cheadle Road up at Draycott Cross, at Fields Farm, a planning application for one is under consideration at the moment.

The very latest move is a project proposed for Totmonslow; and it would be well-placed there, being close to the grid-lines that are supplied by the present one running at Newton.   However, it’s only in the early stages.

+++
Meanwhile, another planning application, the one at Blythe Business Park (Cresswell)– to build 168 homes and double the size of the industry in the hamlet – is now just over one year old.  Seems amazing to think that it was only a year ago that this giant proposal was first brought to our attention!

Cresswell proposal

Blythe Park Cresswell proposal – the planned new build is in pink – housing on the left, industry on the right. The stuff in blue is what is already there. The railway is marked by the grey line along the top of this graphic

There were over 150 letters of objection at the time, and the local community action group VVSM took that on board – and so have been stalwart ever since in opposing the development.
They are still managing to hold it off, though they could, as always, do with more support and more volunteers.  You can check the latest updates of what they are up to by clicking here.

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Community-minded

There has been a lot of talk in Draycott recently about whether we should all be more community-minded.  Well, one place that really has developed its sense of community is next-door Fulford; and it’s congratulations to the residents there who have worked so hard to keep their village beautiful and tidy – and, in so doing, picked up the Mid-Staffordshire Best Kept Village Award.

The Fulford Community Group – in partnership with their own parish council there – does a grand job of maintaining a community spirit.  Well done to them on their achievement.

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

NEWS: Consultation / winners / solar open / footpath feud

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2015
News of…:  confusion over consultation process, raffle winners, solar farm news, upset at footpath  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a fund-raising barbecue. Check out the Events page)

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Confusing consultation

The consultation over Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Local Plan (the allocation of sites for housing across the district) is now well under way.  As we all know, Draycott must find sites for 25 new homes before 2031.
What’s more, the organisers of this Plan are also asking us to suggest more possible places for future gypsy sites and open-space/play areas… with the old Cresswell Station car-park already being looked at as a possible site for travellers.

To be honest, we have found the documents very confusing, and we just don’t understand some of the jargon in them!  So we went along to the ‘consultation session’ last week in Blythe Bridge, but, really, it was all a bit chaotic.  The experts on hand were a bit overwhelmed, and it was hard to get to them to ask questions.

Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Local Plan Consultation session

There were lots of people who turned up at the consultation session ..  You may even  recognise a couple of local characters too!

So… we are publicly asking Draycott Parish Council for a bit of leadership on this one.  Would some member of the council mind stepping forward and sending this website a letter or email spelling out what it all means for Draycott, and what they think are the options?  The council doesn’t actually meet again now until a date that is well after the end of the SMDC consultation process, so we can’t just wait for that meeting.
How about it, Draycott PC?

In the meantime, if you are one of the fortunate ones who actually understand the documents (well done to you!!), you need to get your feedback in to SMDC by September 14th.  To do that, click on the SMDC Site Allocations page and then go right to the bottom of that webpage, and click on ‘Site Options Consultation-Response Form’.

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Footpath feuding

Talking of Draycott Parish Council, it’s a bit unnerving to read in the council’s latest reports (go to PC Reports, and click on ‘June’) that there was a bit of an altercation on a public footpath near Painsley Hall Farm in Cresswell, when two ladies were shouted at.
It seems someone thought they were trespassing (the ladies say they were definitely on the footpath).

The trouble round that particular area is that some vandals tore down the footpath signs some years ago, so the footpath route is not clear to everybody.  The message is, as usual, to all sides: be tolerant, and try to get your facts straight.

If you have had issues about local footpaths, the parish council is responsible for monitoring them, so please contact the council if you too have had problems.  Or list them on the Draycott Facebook page!

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Once bitten…

There have been some pretty aggressive horseflies this year, and lots of horse owners have had to provide their animals with protective coats, even masks.

Anti-horseflies coat

This photo of a horse in Cresswell, with coat, was sent to us by a reader. Thank you!

Not only horses get bitten either. A horsefly bite can cause a nasty swelling on a child’s arm…

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Free fishing!

Many of us will know Andy Bird, who lives not far from Draycott Church.  Andy is a leading member of the Fenton & District Angling Club, which operates some the nearest fishing pools to Draycott (you may have seen Andy and mates at their stall at the Draycott Fayre).

Fenton & District Angling Club stall

Andy Maskery, Stan Irles, Jane Maskery and Andy Bird – at the fayre Angling Club stall

Well, Andy asked us to mention that the club is having open days this Saturday and Sunday (August 8th & 9th) at its pools at Dilhorne, when angling spots will be free of charge to all-comers.  Youngsters are particularly welcome, and free coaching sessions will be taking place.  Click here for details.

It’s not clear if the Creda Redhouse Angling Club (which runs the pool by the Bird In Hand at the other end of Cresswell) is also taking part in this initiative.  We couldn’t see anything on their Facebook page.

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Solar Farm tour

We’ve heard now from quite a few people who attended the Open Day tours a week ago at the Lower Newton Solar Farm in Totmonslow – and they all said what an eye-opener it was.
The project is managed at the moment by Novus Energy, and it was the Novus boss, Ed Jessamine, who conducted folk around the site personally.  He was happy to answer any question thrown at him, and some were very, very pointed!  So, it’s good to see he could be so open.
Pretty much, he satisfied nearly all of us that solar energy was a good thing, and the way forward, if this planet is to overcome the worst effects of climate change.

However, he did say that Novus, having set up the whole thing and got it running (the site has been operational now for six months) are now looking for a buyer for the complex.  (Novus’s expertise is in start-up, not long-term management).  Ed said a new owner should be in place by October.
He added that any new owner would have to commit to providing a ‘community fund’, which makes cash available for local projects in this parish.

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Are you a winner?

Finally, thanks to Nola Ward, who organised the raffle at Draycott Fayre, and who recently published the results of it.
There were nearly thirty pretty outstanding prizes on offer; and it’s great to see that many of these were offered by local businesses, including Huntley Wood, Draycott Nurseries, the Sultan Restaurant, the Draycott Arms, and Draycott Sports Centre too. Click here to see the list of winners (opens as a WORD document).
The first-prize winner was Alan Harper, who won the ‘wilderness tour’. Hmm.  Let’s hope he makes it back from that!

The other significant prize of the day was the chainsaw carving of an owl, made by by artist Anthony Hammond on the day itself.   It was won by Finley Edwards, a local boy.  Apparently he is “chuffed to bits” and wants to keep it in his bedroom!

It’s also good to see that another photo-gallery reflecting the day of the fayre has been published.  Click here to see the photos.

***
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).