Tag Archives: mark deaville

Roadworks decision

Finally common sense has prevailed on the current Draycott A521 Roadworks Project being conducted by St Modwen Homes.

At the very last minute, St Modwen has “found a way” to compromise, and we now have a partial solution to the roadworks issue. It will not totally satisfy all, but it is a halfway-house.

There won’t be a contraflow, which the community would have liked best, but the time-frame (nineteen weeks) also means that St Modwen can still just-about open its housing estate there on time.

Intervention

On the original plan, there was to be no way to the A50 roundabout in or out of Draycott.
It took a last-minute intervention by Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, to make the difference. It looks like he banged a few heads together, and we now have the compromise.

So… at “most times” there will be one lane open through the roadworks, either going out of Draycott, or coming in. But no contraflow.
Instead of ten weeks for the project time-frame, as St Modwen hoped for, it will be extended by a further two months, so – in theory – it should be all done and dusted by the end of February.

A dedicated webpage has been created to keep us immediately up to date (in theory) with any changes on the works site, and alerting us as to which direction the ‘free’ lane will be using in each week.

Yes, this compromise will not suit everyone, and we too think that there were more intelligent solutions, but… at least we got some result.

People power

For once, we can see that social media has been a power for good.
Although the roadworks plan was announced in late July, our respective village councils were slow to react, and even sat on their hands.

So it was left to the people. It took a strong popular response, especially from village websites like this one and from the two community Facebook groups (Draycott and Blythe Bridge), to get the debate up and running.
This strong response forced Staffordshire Highways/St Modwen to back off, and they postponed the original start-date (which had been Sept 7th). As we know, it was then postponed a few more times, until this final start-date of October 8th.

However, we also have to thank the two county councillors – Mark Deaville (for the Draycott end) and Keith Flunder (for the Blythe Bridge end) who, alerted to the strength of local concerns, now both waded in to the conflict.
We suspect it was pressure from these two that brought Philip Atkins into the issue – and he had the power to force a re-think from St Modwen…

(St Modwen’s engineers had said it was impossible to keep a lane free because the included drainage works under the road would mean the whole width of the road would be being used all the time.
Now they have come up with a solution.
Curious, that…).

Let’s hope that, even though it’s a compromise, it all works out…

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NEWS: elections in / book success / accounts (?) / bowls club

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the recent election results / local history book success / council’s invisible accounts / bowls club open …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Fun Tennis Tournament. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Results are in

Well, that’s it for elections for a while (hopefully!).
Since last year’s referendum, we in Draycott have had a parish-council bye-election, a county council election, AND a general election. The next lot is due in 2019.

As for the results, Tory candidate Mark Deaville was re-elected as one of our Staffordshire county councillors for the Cheadle & Checkley ward (which includes us) with a whopping 56% of the vote. No-one else was in sight. Sadly, the turn-out was just a measly 28% of the electorate.
Soon after the election, the Conservative administration on the county council confirmed that Mark will resume his post as the county’s Cabinet member for highways. Congratulations to him.

In the general election, it was a similar story with Conservative Bill Cash storming home to be (again) our MP for the Stone constituency. Oddly, the trailing Labour candidate did get a huge increase his votes too – but that is explained by the total collapse of the local UKIP vote.

Weirdly, Mr Cash has just put up a new website – https://billcashforstone.wordpress.com/ – about his work in this constituency, but it is the most amateurish piece of work we’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to believe he approved it.
Sadly, Mr Cash has turned off the comments function of this website; it would have been nice to be able to put a comment on!

– – –
Email a photo now

Our local library at Blythe Bridge has a photography completion running at the moment – and they are looking for photos of this whole area (including Draycott).
The idea is that the photos should be of a local quiet spot, somewhere where a person can just sit and contemplate the world. It could be your own back-yard, or it could be somewhere where you stop for a moment on your walks.

Draycott churchyard

A place to stop and think: Draycott St Margaret’s churchyard…

It’s easy to take part – just email your photo to the library – and you could be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Click here for the rules etc.

– – –
Successful history book

Congratulations to local boy Matthew Pointon whose book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors raised over £700 in profit.
Matthew, who took not a penny himself, asked for the profits to be divided equally among the two historic churches in Draycott – St Margaret’s Parish Church and St Mary’s RC Church at Cresswell.

The parish council, who put up the initial money to see the book published, decided such an achievement needed a special event to celebrate it; and a History Event was held at St Margaret’s on June 3rd.

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During the afternoon, Levison Wood, the chairman of the local history society, led a special history tour of the village, which was very successful; and tea & cakes were served (for free!!).  Alongside that were special displays remembering the long, long history of this village.

– – –
Bowls – a true Summer sport

One of the disadvantages of a lot of summer sports is that they can be cancelled because of rain. However, not so in crown-green bowls!
The sturdy members of the local bowling club in Cresswell pretty much carry on in the rain – unless it’s lashing down.

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary, says the club is still keen to find new members – from absolute beginners to skilled champions.
Basic membership is £10 for the year, though that means you have to pay £1 each time you use the green. The clubhouse on the site was refurbished last year, so it’s a comfortable experience.
The great thing is that the green is pretty much open all the time; it’s sited at the entrance to the business park in Cresswell, so it is open 16 hours a day!

The club get-together is always on Thursday afternoon, so that is a good time to wander over and introduce yourself if you want to have a go, or get some guidance.

– – –
Invisible accounts

Lastly, you may have seen on the noticeboards that Draycott Council has finally published its end-of-year accounts, and we all have until Friday 21st July to examine them, and, if need be, query them.

Trouble is: how do you get to them, to see them?

Most local councils now put a print-out on their noticeboards, or publish them online.  This what next-door Milwich Council and Dilhorne Council have done. The government is urging every council to do it one of these ways.
Some councils (including next-door Hilderstone Council) even publish the chairman’s annual report online.

But not Draycott Council.  At least, not yet.
In this district, what we have to do is first apply to the council clerk for permission to see them, and then (presumably – but who knows?) we have to trudge round to an address somewhere just to see the papers.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler – and more democratic – to publish them online on the council’s website?
Please?

====STOP PRESS:  A week after this article was written, these accounts were published online after all – see Draycott Council Accounts 2016/17. Thank you to the council for responding to residents’ requests).=====

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Thirty years of the A50

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the biggest-ever construction project in Draycott’s history – the A50 road.
However, it has been thirty years of pain for some locals, so don’t expect a celebration…

The A564

In 1985, the ‘A564’ stretch of dual carriageway was opened – changing its name very soon to the ‘A50’.   It stretched from Blythe Bridge Bridge to Uttoxeter.
The project was a massive one, causing years of disruption in Draycott.  The parish was cut in half by the road, into the Cresswell and Draycott sides; and it required five bridges and underpasses to keep them in touch with each other.

A564 sign

The sign announcing the coming of the A564

Also, the ancient trackways of Cresswell Lane and Cresswell Old Lane were re-routed, which is why they look different on old maps.

But there was one huge problem: the new road was made of concrete.
Concrete is hard-wearing, cheap and easy to lay; but the traffic surface noise, a sort of intense whining, can be unbearable to listen to – as many residents then found out.

The question is then: why, in this whole thirty years, has the surface never been replaced – thus making life so much easier for residents?

Prevention

The highway engineers who built the road knew what the problem would be.
At one time (when the route of the new A50 was planned to be north , not south, of Draycott Level), the Department of Transport paid for double-glazing to be installed in houses in Uttoxeter Road, Stuart Avenue and Draycott Old Road.  The department was fully aware of the noise issue.

Even on the A50 nowadays there is a thirty-foot high embankment running alongside the road, designed to prevent noise travelling over to the Draycott community.  However, when the wind is blowing at you, despite the embankment, the noise is still pretty intense – low-level of course, but constant.  Some residents have described it as a ‘stress’ torture.

A50 bridge construction

A number of underpasses were built to keep contact between Draycott and Cresswell

But – the engineers may not be at fault completely.  It seems that they may have underestimated the huge use the A50 would get.   After all, it was actually planned as the ‘Tean Bypass’ when it was built – whereas now, it is, in reality, the north Midlands link between the M1 and M6!

Protest

For over twenty years, Draycott residents have been complaining to the government.  Studies had shown that changing the surface material would reduce ‘impressible’ noise by a quarter.

The major push was in 1999, when a petition was put together, organised by the parish council of the day. It garnered thousands of signatures, took one year’s effort & work, and eventually reached the minister in charge – and precisely nothing happened…

Since then the parish council has continued to keep in touch, almost on a monthly basis, with the Department of Transport, but nothing alters.  As one former parish council chairman glumly remarked to us – there is almost no point in keeping on trying; they have never listened…

The latest attempt was earlier this year, when our MP Bill Cash wrote to John Hayes detailing areas of importance for noise mitigation to be considered.  Mr Hayes simply replied “There are no immediate plans to resurface the A50 – as the road surface is in a safe and serviceable condition”.
As far as road builders (and the government) are concerned, concrete is fantastic.  It needs few or no repairs, and has a life expectancy of forty years.  Yes, it’s much more difficult to dig up than asphalt is – but who needs to dig up the A50?

Will change happen?

So, if all the above is true… why was the Doveridge stretch of the A50 (near Uttoxeter) recently replaced??  Well, the whisper is that the Uttoxeter Labour MP Janet Dean absolutely worked her socks off (until she lost her seat in 2010) to make sure it happened.
So… she has shown us that change can be achieved.

Also, road builders are using concrete less and less, because of the environmental issues.

A50 stretch

The A50 today

To try to put a dent in the government’s intransigence, this year the parish council has decided to change tactics.   Mark Deaville, the newly-elected council’s vice chairman, has taken on the task of spear-heading the efforts to create change.  This is the first time the council has appointed one of its own members to take on the task personally (in the past, it has often relied on the clerk to do the work) – and this is surely an advance.
Mark is a vastly experienced politician, so he is the obvious person for the job.  If you have views, contact him: he wants to hear from you.

Comments?

Now… it’s over to you.
Do you have views about having to put up with thirty years of A50 noise pollution?
If you do, join the Draycott Facebook group – and get talking!
Or … why not jot down your thoughts in the Comments section further down this web-page?
What you say could make a difference…..

[References:  History of Draycott-en-le-Moors by Matthew Pointon, pg174 / Photos courtesy of the Barry Phillips Collection ]

Election 2015 results in Draycott

Well – it’s pretty much ‘as you were’.
All the sitting candidates locally got back in, though, because there were ‘vacancies’ on the parish-council, some new faces do appear there.
Our neighbourhood of Draycott-in-the-Moors (including Cresswell &  Totmonslow) didn’t experience any surprises – unlike the UK as a whole…

Member of Parliament

Sir Bill CashOn such a night as that one was, there could only be one winner as MP for our area – the Tory incumbent, Sir Bill Cash (left).
He took the Stone parliamentary constituency with a staggering 55% of the vote, with the Labour and UKIP candidates lagging way behind him, and the rest out of sight.

District Councillors

mark deaville No change here either – as the three incumbent Conservatives got back in.  Continuing to represent us on Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, for the Checkley District Ward, will be Mark Deaville (left), Colin Pearce and David Trigger.
Of the three, Mark lives in Draycott parish, so he takes a certain responsibility for its interests on SMDC.   Mark is also a Staffordshire County councillor and a Draycott parish councillor.
The Conservatives did so well on the night in this part of the world that they will now run Staffordshire Moorlands with an outright majority.

Parish Councillors

Steve JonesAgain, no real surprises.  The four sitting councillors, Gordon Winfield,  Pauline Clarke, Mark Deaville and Roger Tabbernor all got in pretty easily.  Of the newcomers, Steve Jones (left) polled surprisingly well, coming third in the overall vote.  The two other new faces are Jacquie Leach (who is also vice-chair of the VVSM Action group) and Roger Holdcroft.  Congratulations to them all!
The two candidates who failed to make the finishing line were Pat McLaughlin and Lee Stanford.
The turnout in Draycott parish was almost 70%, which makes it higher than the national average (66%).
None of the new councillors stood under a party label for the parish council elections except Mark Deaville who stood as a Tory.   They will all take their seats at the Annual General Meeting on Monday 18th May, when a new chairman will also be elected.

For full results and facts – for district and parishes – click here

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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).

A wildlife information board for Cresswell

It’s great to see a real community-style project come together.
The fact that Cresswell now has a smart new wildlife information board is down to collaboration between the local community action group, the area county councillor, the county wildlife trust, the local highways team, and even the district policing team.
It has all been what you might call – a ‘working together’!

The wildlife information board was the brainchild of Cresswell’s own Jacquie Leach, ably supported by her neighbour Louie Horlestone – whose knowledge of wildlife in our area simply can’t be beat. Louie also took some of the photographs.
Then, other members of the VVSM Community Group also promised support, added to which, our area county councillor Mark Deaville was able to donate £700 from his ‘Community Initiative Fund’.
You can see the results of all this work by going along to the lay-by in Cresswell (by the old telephone box).

Wildlife Board unveiled

Mark Deaville (right) unveiled the board, watched by Jacquie Leach (left) and some young enthusiasts

Unveiling

On Saturday morning (15th Nov), Mark Deaville formally unveiled the board. It was a cold morning, but VVSM were supplying hot coffee and scones, which maybe explains why the crowd was bigger than expected (!).

On the board are listed over twenty species which can be found in or around the stretch of the River Blithe.  Because there is a narrow strip of isolated land, between the river and the railway line (stretching from the industrial park right up through the side of Draycott to the A50 roundabout), wildlife does manage to flourish here undisturbed.  There are even over a dozen species which Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has described as ‘priority’.

Wildlife board - detail

The wildlife board shows a number of species, all surrounding the figure of Izaak Walton

It’s amazing to think that otters have even been glimpsed in this stretch, but SWT did confirm that this is very possible, as otters are returning in numbers to the Moorlands region.

Great Tit

Great Tit – pic L Horlestone

Other species which are worth looking out locally for are the birds: skylarks, wheatears, and water rails, all of which are becoming rarer.

Sturdy structure

“We are all very grateful to Mark Deaville for the grant,” Jacquie told us, “as a sturdy, metal structure like the one we have here comes very expensive!  To save money, we did the graphics ourselves, and put it up ourselves.  And it’s pretty strong, I’m glad to say.

“The real hope is that local residents will realise, even more, how wonderful the nature immediately around us is.  Even Staffordshire Wildlife Trust were surprised when we showed them the amount of the species that local people had seen and recorded here.
“We know also that a lot of walkers pass through Cresswell, so a board like this will make them feel welcome and, you never know, might encourage more visitors to our hamlet…”

Crowd at unveiling of the board

Crowd at the unveiling of the board

But… why is there a figure of the seventeenth century angling writer Izaak Walton shown on the board?
Jacquie explained: “There is a long tradition that the famous man actually did come to Cresswell to fish.  You’ll find this story mentioned in a few accounts.
Izaak was a great lover of nature – so it seemed right that he should be on the board too!”

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