When Derrington was put forward by the Borough Council as the Borough’s candidate ‘low carbon community’ we had to explain why we thought it was the right community to work with.
This is what we said:
“Derrington has an enthusiastic and motivated population, with several active groups and community leaders – and a track record of delivering successful community and environmental projects, such as the creation of the fabulous ‘Millennium Green’.
The village is within cycling and walking distance of the main employment centre of Stafford and benefits from its rural-urban location in other ways e.g. there are several local food producers situated on the village edge.
The community benefits from many residents with skills and experience in project management, fund raising, community liaison and a wide range of practical skills and environmental management skills.
The village is approximately three miles from Stafford town centre, with about 320 properties and a population approaching 1,000 of which about 29% are of pensionable age. A lot of the properties are bungalows and the remaining dwellings are very varied – ranging from a handful of cottages and converted farm houses dating from the 1700’s to several properties built since 2000. Most homes are privately owned but there is a selection of social housing.
The village has several facilities and many unique features: There is a Village Hall with Social Club, which serves the community of the village and surrounding area, hosts many user groups and activities, ranging from Brownies, Women’s Institute, art classes, indoor bowls, craft, audio/visual club, keep fit to a private members social club.
The closure of the village shop and post office in June 2008, as a result of retirement, was a great blow to the village. However, on 31st October 2008, a Post Office was established within the Village Hall complimented by a W.I. Coffee Shop – an important opportunity for many villagers and friends (especially vulnerable groups) to congregate for a drink and a cake and a chat.
There is a picturesque Church (St Matthew’s) with regular Sunday services and a Pub with a Restaurant (the Red Lion). Derrington Motors is located on the edge of the village.
The village features a Millennium Green run by its own Trustees, which has lovely wild meadow flowers, an extensive orchard area and a nuttery, a W.I. herb garden and a willow maze planted by the Brownies. There is also a Millennium Wood, officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in December 2000 and managed with the support of the Woodland Trust.
The village benefits from proximity to a disused railway line, which once ran from Stafford to Newport. This train service was axed in the 1960’s. However, the line has been turned into a cycle track/footway, called The Greenway, which is now part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network, NCN 5. The Greenway offers an excellent opportunity for commuter trips into Stafford (2.5 miles into the town centre) as well as recreation and leisure use.
Derrington residents are able to receive a monthly Church and Village Magazine, covering the villages of Derrington and Haughton. It contains news and views from within the two villages and keeps local people abreast of forthcoming entertainment. This is complemented information on the web.
Derrington has a strong sense of place. As well as the extensive efforts to set up the Millennium Green, Millennium Wood, etc there are volunteers doing all kinds of community activities eg litter picking; bulb planting; helping neighbours do their shopping; monthly conservation activities on the Green; there’s a film club that has made a lovely short film clip of the village and its assets; there is an annual calendar of the Millennium Green put together and sold – there are Christmas Cards of village scenes on sale too.
Because of these combined factors, Derrington was proposed as the Borough’s pilot low carbon community.