Tag Archives: Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

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

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

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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

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

Draycott Fayre 2016 - 25 years banner

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

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

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Fresh faces at the polls

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

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

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

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

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

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Moorlands Council elections

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

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

Expect to get loads of leaflets through your letterboxes soon!

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Kiosk – good as new!

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

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

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

… all now nicely repared…

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

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New spot for memorial tree

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

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


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

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

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

NEWS: 4th local pub / new library name / underpants bet / £1000 threat

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2016
News of…:  new bar & grill coming to Draycott / think of a new name for Blythe Library / Staffs Moorlands threaten householders with fine / will cricket man have to do a Gary Lineker? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a barn dance. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Anyone who likes a drop of locally-brewed real ale will be pleased at the news that this district can now expect a FOURTH pub (we already have the Draycott Arms, The Izaak Walton and The Hunter).

Yes, the new version of what was formerly The Plough / The Mango Tree / The Sultan (at the Blythe end of our Uttoxeter Road) is going to be a bar & grill type place, serving Indian and English style ‘sizzler’ dishes – with a more ‘proper’ drinking area than was there before.

Golden Keg sign

Golden Keg is almost ready to open, but not quite!

Calling itself The Golden Keg’ it opens in two weeks (on September 14th) and is promising a good range of ales – including local Titanic ales. The management has already got its Facebook page up and running.
Watch this space!

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Name that library!

The latest update from our local library at Blythe Bridge is that things are all going plan. Although management of the library officially passed from the county council to community volunteers earlier this year, the new-look library never really got a proper official opening.
Well, that oversight will be put right next month, on Saturday 8 October when there will be a little part of celebration, open to all.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

As part of that celebration, the library will be getting its new name – and you can help choose what it will be, as all suggestions are welcome.
It could just be something straightforward, like ‘Blythe Community Hub’ or something like … mmm… ‘The Blythe Fun Shop’! (Well it’s only a suggestion).
Email your suggestion to blythebridge.library@staffordshire.gov.uk as soon as you can.

Also – check out our What’s On pages for news of new adult-education language classes coming to the library.

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Identify yourself – or be fined £1000

Yet another piece of paper-work for us is the ‘Household Enquiry Form‘, which should have come tumbling through your letterbox in the last fortnight.
It looks like just another voter registration form, but it’s not.  This form (from Staffordshire Moorlands Council) is one asking us to confirm those very same registration details we already have filled in.

Why they really need another piece of paper from us is a bit of mystery, but I was told that it’s a method of preventing voter fraud, which unfortunately is a growing crime.
Anyway, the council seems determined to get us to fill in the form – as anyone who doesn’t faces a £1000 fine…  Click here for details

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Doing a Gary Lineker?

The first team at Blythe Cricket Club (whose ground is in Cresswell) might look as though they’ve had yet another unremarkable season, as they are lying almost mid-table in the NSSCL Division 1 yet again with only a couple of weeks of the season to run.

However, the statistics are lying in this instance, as the team have had a couple of stunning victories and have been playing really well.  One of the stars of the season has been fourteen year-old Jack Hammond, who came into the first team almost by accident when the regular wicket-keeper got injured at the beginning of the season– but he has played so well, he has kept his place!

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Head of Cricket at the club, Mark Hammond (yes … he is a relation!) says the real stumbling-block this year has been the weather.  Sometimes the rain has descended – cruelly – just ten minutes before stumps-time, robbing the team of valuable points.

In fact, Mark is so convinced that the first team are so brilliant that he has laid a really …well, spectacular… bet on next season.
Mark bet (in front of witnesses!) that if the first team do not win their division next year, he will do a Gary Lineker and serve behind the bar at a club event … in just his underpants…

Well, the club has always said it wanted to attract more ladies.  Maybe this is the answer.

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: beautifying Draycott / S106 ‘mistake’ / happy arrival at St M’s / map of new estate

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2016
News of…:  Cricket club gets S106 apology / happy event for Rev Jonathan / residents get floral! / map of planned Cresswell housing estate …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including summer play-sessions for children… Check out the Events page)

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Club gets an apology

You wouldn’t Adam&Eve it…
You may remember that we reported last month on the clauses in the formal agreement permitting the ‘Blythe Park Housing Estate’ to be built in Cresswell – the so-called ‘S106’ agreement.
Page eleven of the agreement indicated that Blythe Cricket Club, just up the road from the site, would earn up to half-a-million pounds if the agreement went ahead.

Well, the cricket club committee were furious about this announcement – because they had never discussed or agreed to anything of the sort!

Vice-chairperson of the club, Ali Grimley, has been after Staffordshire Moorlands Council like a terrier… and, after a long month of chasing it down, she has finally got a definitive reply from them:
From the information available, it appears that the principle of the ‘potential’ community use of the Cresswell cricket club pitches facilitated by securing a commuted sum from the Blythe Park planning permission does not appear to have been previously discussed with the club and I can only apologise for this lack of engagement.

So… — it was all a mistake…!!
It seems unbelievable that such an important document – signed, witnessed and sealed by lawyers – should have such a profoundly wrong supposition in it.
We probably have not heard the last of this, especially as it has embarrassed the club greatly – and club members may well wonder if a simple email apology is enough.

Incidentally, the clause has not yet been removed from the online version of the document.

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News street-map

Talking of the S106 Agreement, it includes a street map which shows how the new housing estate is likely to be laid out. (Double-click the pic to make it larger).

Cresswell housing estate street map

As you can see, a new roundabout will be where the Cresswell lay-by on Sandon Road is at the moment. A brand new road will lead into the estate from there, while the current entrance road will be bollarded off.
The housing seems relatively crowded for 170 homes – but some will be in multi-storey flats.

It seems like a fair few trees will be planted too.  VVSM, the local community action group, told us that it wants to take on a watching brief – to make sure the developers keep their promises – and it is currently looking for more members to join up and help in the task.

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Floral arrangements…

Hats off to the residents who have shown great community spirit in trying to beautify our district.

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The old planter at the start of Draycott Old Road was really looking rather shabby – so… well done to Sandie Banks Lyle and her helpers who restored, repainted, and restocked it… It really looks great now.

On the edge of the St Margaret’s car-park, some publicly-spirited soul has planted the rather empty looking mound… and it is now flowering nicely (see below).

Flower bed by St Margarets car park

And in Cresswell, the local residents group have been cutting back some of the vegetation which was making getting to the bus-stop so problematic.

It’s great to see people care.
And the reason this all matters is that: the district council (Staffs Moorlands DC) is withdrawing its grant, which has been given in the past to the parish council, to pay for a handyperson to do these kind of small jobs.
SMDC says it now expects community volunteers to take on such tasks…

All we could do with now is someone to sort out (get rid probably) of the ugly looking and dilapidated planter at the Draycott crossroads (see below).

Draycott crossroads planter

Over to you, Draycott Parish Council!

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Congratulations in orders

More good news is that last month our vicar the Reverend Jonathan Roberts and his wife Sophie (see pic) became parents for the third time.

Reverend Jonathan Roberts and wife

Such is Jonathan’s dedication to duty, he even spent an hour away from the happy nursery to attend the Draycott St Margaret’s Fayre (he is ‘rector’ of St Margaret’s Church) – before hastily rushing back …

It must be something in the Draycott air…

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)

“We are a Hamlet”

This latest entry on this website has been written by local resident, Rin.
She has become more and more dismayed by the proposals that Staffordshire Moorlands Council have for our parish, and especially for little Cresswell.  If the plans go ahead – linking the Blythe Park industrial complex to a large housing estate and then on to a second, even larger industrial complex right along the River Blithe to Blythe Bridge -, it will change our parish completely.

This is Rin’s plea to the authorities to change their minds…



WHY O WHY don’t the council listen and consider the views and impact on the lives of people that they are supposed to be representing – whom we have placed in that position of trust – to do right by them?


This is my own perspective regarding the proposed expansion and I am sure that it has been said before but just to reiterate re the traffic increase.
It is hard enough to attempt to get out of the junction of Sandon Road Cresswell which joins Uttoxeter Road Draycott at peak times.
I use the word ‘attempting’ as anyone who tries to do this knows just what an exasperating and lengthy process it is.


The thought of the extra traffic accrued from the proposed housing will bring the area to a standstill even if the houses proposed have only one vehicle – and I am sure that there will in most of the homes be two. We are talking at least 200 extra vehicles in these areas at peak times.


We are then having to consider the expansion of the industrial site with huge storage facilities to be built and again extra vehicles which the council has now proposed.
Traffic, extreme noise and road dust, will be going through this area constantly throughout the day and night making the day time as busy as the aforementioned peak times.


I know that some expansion has to go ahead but once again I have to state that we live in a HAMLET – the sort of place the government has stated should not be built on.


As a disabled person I moved here because the area was flat and easy for someone to get to me if I needed help.  This help will not be easily available if the council’s plans go ahead.
The small village of Blythe Bridge will be solid, the large A50 roundabout – which is terribly difficult to get across already due to peak time congestion and the frequent accidents occurring …  the extra traffic increase will be exacerbated.

My doctors and family help all come from the Blythe Bridge area which is why I came to live here. The council’s proposals will make me feel very vulnerable again.  There does not seem to be any thought from them and they have not taken into consideration the knock-on impact of all of their plans.  They seem to see what they want to do and nothing else.

To conclude, as previously mentioned although I am sure that most of this has already been said before, I am speaking from my own perspective.  I urge EVERYONE who may be in the same position as myself to speak out against these plans and show the council that they cannot just do as they please when the people, that they are supposed to be representing, voted for them and to a degree gave them their jobs believing in them as people. We are believing in them as representatives for us as we are affected and don’t want their proposals.

These proposals need to be stopped before they begin as it will be too late once they go ahead.  This can not be done by a few, and people cannot assume that their Input is not imperative to this campaign. Your voices as people are very very important and CANNOT BE LEFT TO A FEW!

Your voices are needed if you want change, so I am asking you all on behalf of all like myself whom can only fight to a degree due to ill-health, please speak out if it will affect you.  If we are all in this together, that will change things. There are enough of us if we try.  If you are not in favour of these proposals PLEASE GET INVOLVED.


If ou want to know more about how to object to the council’s proposals, Bev Reardon has written up a suggestion for what you should do on the village Facebook page.
If you want to comment on Rin’s words, just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.

Moorlands Local Plan … thoughts

So… at last, we have the ‘preferred’ Local Plan proposals for housing, employment and traveller sites in the Moorlands region, all now brought to us by the district council after months of consultation…
Draycott and Cresswell have their fair share of the allocations, though Totmonslow is not mentioned on the list at all.

If you wish to comment on the plans, or you want to go along to some of the public meetings, all the details are at the bottom of this page.  BUT – remember, we only have six weeks from today to put comments in.

Housing allocation

The past year has been very confusing in terms of us being told what to expect.  Last summer we were told that Draycott could look forward (probably) to spaces being allocated for twenty-five new houses, but this latest version of the Plan has only designated space for ten new houses.

Draycott site allocations housing

Draycott Level. The orange site is the one preferred by SMDC for housing. Ignore the light green area – it’s the churchyard!

These, at the moment, are allocated on land behind St Mary’s Court – near The Draycott Arms. However, history societies are not entirely happy with that, as any future construction will abut the Old Rectory, a Grade 2 historic building.

Cresswell site allocations employment

This map is, basically, of the Blythe Business Park. The dark green area marks proposed business units space – but no indication of the planned housing estate!

You’ll notice of course that there is no mention of the planning permission for houses that was granted last year for a housing estate in Cresswell.  Apparently, this omission is because the permission was granted before this Local Plan from the district council was initiated.  (Eh?  Seems an odd way of going about drawing up a Plan, but there you are).
One comment that we are hearing already is that if a lot of this plan goes ahead, then we will in effect have one long ribbon development – of Draycott, Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge growing ever closer together.

Employment allocation

Well, if you check out these draft proposals, the huge Blythe Business Park extension looks to be definitely one that SMDC councillors would like to see go through.

Draycott site allocations employment

The dark green blob (on both sides of the A50 road), is the Draycott employment site ‘opportunity’. The little yellow blob, wrapped in the red blob, is one of the traveller site suggestions

The other thing that has reared its head again is the Blythe Vale employment site (also known as the Northern Gateway employment site – see Application No SMD/2011/0304). This got its basic planning permission renewed back in 2011 , but the permission has never been activated…. yet.
Because the permission has not been activated, no one is sure of what the exit route from the potential site might be. People who attended the original hearings all that long time ago say that one exit route which got some backing from the developers was down ‘Waterworks Lane’, the unmade road opposite the Izaak Walton in Cresswell. If so, the nightmare scenario would be wagons and traffic from both sides of Sandon Road coming slap up against each other.

It would be good to know what our local district councillors think about all this.  Our councillors, Mark Deaville and David Trigger, both voted for these draft ‘preferred’ options to go through.  You might want to ask them why they did that.

Travellers’ site

The news on this is very confusing.
While there are nine possible sites – scattered around the southern end of our Moorlands region – the Leek Post & Times newspaper is reporting that the site with the shortest odds on it is the one at the end of Draycott, opposite the Chandni Cottage Restaurant (at the beginning of the dual carriageway).
Meeting two weeks ago, Draycott Parish Council said it would be opposing the nomination of this site – although they will have to find some good planning reasons.
This site is, strictly speaking, just over the council border, in Forsbrook’s area.

Make your voice heard

Whether you are for, or against, or just confused (like many of us!), you’ll want to know how to ask questions and to comment.
Here’s how: —

#   You can read the documents.  They are all online – click SMDC Site Allocations Consultation -; or you can go into Blythe Bridge Library and request to see paper copies of them.
#   You can attend drop-in sessions.  SMDC has arranged a number of these for the the public to attend,   where officers will be on hand to explain matters. Our nearest ones are at:  Greatwood Community Hall in Upper Tean on Thursday 12th May (5pm – 8pm), and the Guildhall in Cheadle on Tues 17th May (5pm-8pm).
#   You can turn up to open meetings.  Forsbrook villagers have arranged an open meeting for this week – to be on Tuesday 3rd May from 7pm; and Draycott parish councillors have said they will be available for face-to-face chats on Monday 18th May from 6.45-7.15pm at the Church Hall.

#   You can just go straight ahead and write your comments anyway – which MUST be delivered by 5.00pm on Monday 13th June.
— You can fill in the online questionnaire, and send it back to the council.
— You can email – to forward.plans@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk
— You can use the old fashioned mail – send your letter to: Freepost RRLJ-XCTC-JBZK, Regeneration Manager, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek ST13 6HQ (no stamp needed)

Good luck…   let us all know what you are thinking – use this website’s Comments form, just a bit further down this page…

NEWS: adverts ugly? / vicar & Syria / planning map / folk music

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2015
News of…:  (ugly?) advertising hoardings / new vicar & politics of the day / where did the politicians go? / New local planning map / return of the folk musicians …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including Halloween events. Check out the Events page)

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Is advertising an eyesore?

One of the issues that has risen to the surface recently among people who read this website is the question of the advertising hoardings outside Blythe Cricket Club’s ground in Cresswell.
We had a few emails (see our last post) to suggest that these hoardings are unwelcome, mostly because they are too ugly for a small and homely place like Cresswell.

Cresswell advertising hoardings

Advertising hoardings at the cricket club in Cresswell

In previous years, the cricket club mounted these hoardings on the fence inside the cricket ground, but this summer moved them to the outside fence, where they now face the road.  Presumably the advertisers prefer this site because it gets more ‘eyeballs’, as the saying goes.

But what do you think?  Are you bothered?
Use the comments box at the bottom of this page if you want to put forward a view…

– – –
New vicar … and Syria

The Reverend Jonathan Roberts has now finally settled in as the local vicar.  There hasn’t been anyone in place as the ‘rector’ (as he must officially be known) since Easter, when David Bickersteth retired from the post.  However Reverend Jonathan is now holding regular services at St Margaret’s, and says he looks forward to chatting with anyone at the tea-and-biscuits session (which takes place after the Sunday morning service) if he is there.

Rev Roberts and church wardens

Rev Roberts with the St Margaret’s church wardens Pauline Clarke (on left of picture) and Dave Meller (on right)

Reverend Jonathan seems a dynamic person, and, perhaps reflecting that, there is a strong ‘call to action’ article which has appeared in this month’s parish magazine.
The article points out that Syria has a significant minority Christian community, which is caught (literally) in the gunfire between warring groups in that unhappy country.  The magazine article suggests we need to give them, and all refuges, more help.  The article says:  “Christians in Syria and elsewhere are looking for ‘Christian’ countries to help them. Our government has consistently not helped Christians in other countries, and shows a lack of compassion to all refugees of whatever religion.”
Strong words indeed from our local church.

– – –
What happened to the surgeries?

One thing that always happens at elections is that the hopefuls who’d like to be our MP or local councillor start showing up and making promises.  Almost as predictably too, they seem to disappear from sight after the election.

That’s certainly true of our some of our local representatives.
According to his website, the local MP hasn’t had a surgery anywhere in this constituency for a whole six months now, and the articles he was writing for the local paper seem to have dried up.
Meanwhile, at local level, I could swear some of the new councillors told us they might hold similar surgeries, for local folk to come along and discuss issues on their minds – not to mention saying that they would make greater efforts to come out to ‘meet the people’.  We wait for that day…

One local-government development we do like though is that Staffordshire Moorlands Council has started a new ‘interactive-planning-map’ on its website.  It’s a lot easier to use than having to trudge through the usual planning-applications webpages.  The interactive map shows not just planning applications either, it shows things like where the nearest ‘protected tree’ is and even where the official flood-zones are.
(… according to this map, nearly the whole of Blythe Business Park is in a flood-zone…  Hmm.)

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Trad folk

Finally, if you’re a musician, you’ll welcome the news that the weekly folk music sessions return for the autumn, on Tuesday afternoons at Draycott Church Hall.
Ann Mundy tells us that she welcomes musicians who’d like to join in learning to play mostly English, Scottish, American and Irish traditional dance tunes.  It’s all for fun, but occasionally the participants go out and do a concert.
If you play an instrument that fits that bill, and would like to participate, drop her line.

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: missing post box / SMDC issues / darts back / Home Link

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early September 2015
News of…:  where is the missing Draycott post-box? / just days to go for SMDC deadline / darts is back at The Arms! / volunteering for Home Link …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Star-Gazing & Astronomy Night. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Posted … large delivery

One of the strangest Draycott stories this week was about our local post-box that “went missing”.  Yes, it seemed that, right under our noses, the post-box was simply dug up, removed and taken elsewhere!
The phenomenon was first reported to police as a theft – the police said they can’t be sure when it was taken, but have narrowed down the time to sometime last weekend (4th-7th September).

(UPDATE  We’ve had a late notification on this item from Bev Reardon (who lives nearby).   She says it wasn’t stolen, but removed, quite quickly, by Royal Mail, after the box was knocked over in a road accident.  See her email)

If thieves had taken it, who’d have thought it would be worth their time and trouble?  However, it turns out that there is a trade in stolen post-boxes, most of which are shipped abroad to collectors.  These collectors will pay thousands of pounds for them.  Who would have thought it?
The Royal Mail is thinking of tagging its post-boxes now to prevent further thefts. 

– – –
Problems at SMDC

The Site Allocation Consultation organised by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council seems to be running into quicksand…
This consultation was the chance for the public of Draycott and other places to comment on where new housing, new gypsy sites and new industry should be sited in our district over the next fifteen years.  However, the forms are hard to understand (let alone fill in!); and some parish councils have been very angry about the lack of information. (Cheadle Town Council is even asking for a postponement of the deadline for that reason).

However, if you are finding the forms hard to understand, Draycott parish councillor Jacquie Leach has said she will willingly help anyone.
Jacquie wrote to us to say: “I am more than willing to help anyone who wishes to fill in the form. I have done it myself, and we need as many people as possible to fill one in. Call me on 01782 388077. If anyone is interested, I have some spare forms if you would like one, or you can fill one in electronically on the Staffordshire Moorlands website. Once this goes through there will be no turning back!

Jacquie is the only parish councillor to have filled in a response on the online site of the Consultations webpage, as far as we can see, so she must know what is what in that regard.
The deadline date is this Monday, September 14.


Sticking with SMDC, it seems like Councillor Mike Worthington (the chairman of the SMDC Planning Committee) has landed himself in hot water with some very silly and inappropriate remarks made at a recent meeting.
Apparently, VVSM (the residents’ action group here in Draycott) think that what he has done could possibly spell good news as far as Cresswell is concerned.  Click here for more details.

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Some of us mourned the loss of the dart-board when the new owners of the Draycott Arms moved in earlier this year.  They told us it had had to go, as part of the improvements.

Well, we are happy to say that … the darts-board is back!  Tara & Brayn relented when they heard how much people liked it.
What’s more, already there is a women’s darts team up and running at The Arms – which is still looking for members.  Hurry up and apply!

Wouldn’t it be good to see a ‘derby’ match between The Arms and The Hunter?

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Volunteers needed

Many of us have heard of Moorlands Home Link, which provides companionship and help for older people in the region.  There isn’t a Draycott branch yet, so many of our older folk go along to the luncheons provided by the Blythe Bridge and the Tean groups.

The Tean session is every Tuesday afternoon at Gorsty Hill chapel in Tean, and is an opportunity for older people to get together for a home-cooked meal, and for entertainment and activities. Transport is provided.

However, such sessions don’t happen on their own; and Steph Chadwick contacted this website to remind us all that volunteers are needed to help out, on a rota, at the club.
If you can spare a few hours every month, please contact Steph on 07950 243 345, or call the Moorlands Home Link office on 01538 750511, or email cheadlehomelink

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).

Blythe Park planning decision confirmed

Well, as you might have guessed, the Staffordshire Moorlands Planning Committee did not change their minds about the Cresswell planning application (for hundreds of homes and lots more industrial units at Blythe Business Park), even at the second time. As the councillors did in February, they passed the application again by a large majority, despite the concerns expressed by so many people.  See: SMDC August 2015 Planning Meeting agenda

Well done to the local people that turned up to the meeting, and voiced their dissent though. The massive majority of residents in Cresswell don’t want the new development, so they did speak on Cresswell’s behalf.
Only three parish councillors turned up (as far as we know – please tell us if others were there), Pauline Clarke, Jacquie Leach and Mark Deaville, who voiced their opinions forcefully.
The most forceful of all however was resident Nick Holdcroft, who told a member of the planning committee (who had tried to interrupt him, while he was delivering his address) to just keep quiet and wait his turn!    Kate Bradshaw was there too, and she will be doing a report for our Draycott Parish Council, we expect.
The only speakers there in favour of the development were … the developers themselves…

It was all to no avail though, even though there were new members on the planning committee (voted in since the elections in May), and the Conservative-majority committee voted it through.   In a way they had to, because the way planning committees work is that, once the original decision is taken, the protocol is to accept the original meeting’s decision, even at a later meeting when there are new councillors.
In fact, the real business of this meeting was to agree the terms and conditions attached to the approval – and they make for interesting reading – see SMDC Blythe Park discussion agenda

What now?

Nothing is over till it’s over, as they say, and some residents say there is still a way out.

As there seems to be a vague silence from the parish council at the moment, so the local residents’ action group, VVSM, has stepped into the breach; and have called an open meeting for this Tuesday (18th August), to take place at Draycott Sports Centre at 7pm. All who are interested are welcome to attend.

VVSM will be letting residents know if they have had back any information from the Environmental Law Foundation, who have been giving advice about calling a Judicial Review (which is a formal objection to the whole decision-making process that has gone on).

VVSM, jointly with parish councillor Jacquie Leach, have also submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman about how SMDC and the Planning Committee have carried out their duties. They will be reporting back on how that is going.

Please tell anyone you know that this meeting is taking place.

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).

NEWS: more new housing / Facebooks / rectory for sale / newspaper delivery

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2015
News of…:  suggested new housing sites in Draycott / more local Facebooks / want a newspaper delivered? / rectory for sale  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a summer sports-camp for kids. Check out the Events page)

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Even more homes to be built in Draycott

So… at last Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has announced its ideas about where new housing could be built in the area over the next twenty years.  The Moorlands needs to build another 3,500 new homes before 2026, not just to sustain the supply of homes for local people (as per its own Core Strategy), but to achieve the new government’s demanded quota.
Now this new set of proposals is looking even further ahead, to 2031.

You’d think that the proposed 170 homes on the Blythe Park site would see us in Draycott-in-the-Moors firmly past our quota, but in fact the village has to provide sites for a further twenty-five homes.
In the so-called Site Allocations Document, there are some dozen potential sites along Draycott Level (Cresswell and Totmonslow are excluded) that council officers have looked at already. So far, the planners only think one of these potential sites is really suitable – but, that still leaves the planners short of sites in Draycott, so they are still looking.

SMDC Site Allocation Plan

The SMDC Site Allocation Plan shows fourteen sites, in yellow, for housing in Draycott that have already been suggested.  Only one is thought totally suitable though.  (To double the size of this photo, double-click on it; and then use the back-button to get back to this page)

One site that does seem like it will definitely get into the ‘short-list’ is the field behind the bungalows of St Margaret’s Court Sheltered Housing complex.  Pundits say that this land, which is owned by the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield, is likely to have at least ten homes built on it soon.

Like us, you may be puzzled by all this!
Well, you can read up the proposals by going online (click here), or you can go along to the public consultation session at Blythe Bridge Village Hall next week, on Wednesday 29 July (4pm-8pm) – when council planning officers will be on hand to answer questions.

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‘Big house’ for sale

The latest ‘big house’ up for sale in Draycott district is the so-called new rectory which lies on the east side of St Margaret’s Church.  It’s quite hard to get to by car, because it lies one hundred yards up an unmade road.  But, if you like a nice isolated situation, this is for you!

The house – properly called ‘The Old Vicarage’, for some strange reason – was originally built in the 1960s to house the clergy of St Margaret’s, with Reverend Dr Healey being the first rector to live in it.
For the previous 150 years, the clergy had lived in The Old Rectory, the lovely (but very old) moated house opposite the Draycott Arms  – but the place was falling into dereliction and was simply too expensive to keep repairing, so the church sold it.  (Bill Hartley, the scrap metal man, bought it, did it up, and lives there still).

If you are interested, estate agents Donald Cope are handling the sale and you can have it for £375,000.
It has a fish pool…

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Facebooks galore!

Talking of church activity, Draycott & Cresswell can boast yet another Facebook group – the Cresswell Catholics of St Mary’s (and nearby Catholic churches) page.  Gabbie Termine and  Deacon Trevor are its administrators, and they update it regularly.
The St Margaret’s Church Facebook page has been going for some time now, and is also worth keeping an eye on.

Another Draycott social media page is the Sultan Buffet Pakistani restaurant Facebook (the restaurant by Stuart Avenue) page.  The new owners are keen to point out that they are nothing to do with the Mango Tree Restaurant which was in the building before, insisting that they are a completely new operation.
Mohammed ShabazIn fact, the new guy in charge there is Mohammed Shabaz (pic right), was first known for his food in Birmingham’s famous Balti Triangle.
The place has been getting some good reviews from the critics too – see Andy Munro’s review.

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Delivery to your letter-box

Finally, if Facebook and Twitter and all that kind of thing leaves you cold, then you are probably someone who likes good old-fashioned newspapers and magazines.
But… it isn’t always easy for people in Draycott to get to a shop to buy them, especially if you rely on buses (what buses???!!).  One day we mentioned this to a neighbour, who surprised us by telling us that a daily newspaper delivery service is available to residents of Draycott & Cresswell (… and we never knew!).

The lovely lady at Lloyds Newsagent – next to Blythe Bridge Railway Station – has a network of local residents who will deliver to homes, on her behalf, every day in our district.  She will even come out and bring your newspaper herself if it’s a slow day!
Just phone her on 01782 393544 to arrange deliveries – which can be as frequent or as infrequent as you like.

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).