Knit and Natter: Cast-off Cramlington group offered pub home

Women who attend the meetings have been told they will have to move out of Cramlington Library because they take up too much space and are too noisy

The Knit and Natter group seek a new home after complaints they use too much space and are noisy
The Knit and Natter group seek a new home after complaints they use too much space and are noisy

A knitting group which faces having to reluctantly move out of its home in a public library has been offered a new meeting place – in a local pub.

A number of options are being examined for a new venue at which members of the thriving Knit and Natter group – currently based in Cramlington Library – can hold their weekly get togethers.

Up to 30 women attend the Wednesday morning meetings, and they have been told they will have to move out of the library because they take up too much space and are too noisy.

The group, which knits items such as baby burial gowns, hats and blankets for the NHS, says it has until next month to find a new venue.

Cramlington Town Council is trying to find an alternative venue, and a number of options are being considered, including space in the town’s Manor Walks shopping centre.

Now Alex Chandler, manager of The Plough pub in Cramlington Village, has said he is happy to let the knitters use part of the ground floor free of charge on Wednesdays. Yesterday Mr Chandler said the group was welcome to use the Gin Gan, an old mill which is part of the pub’s lounge area, for three hours.

He said: “I was approached by John Cole, a member of the town council, who asked me if these lady knitters could come here, and I said no problem at all. He told me there was some sort of problem with the library and was there a chance they could use the facilities here.

“We already have one large group of women who meet here once a month and I’m happy for the knitters to come in on Wednesday mornings free of charge.

“At the moment we don’t have tea or coffee facilities but I’m sure we can arrange something for them. I’m just waiting to hear if they want to come.”

The knitting group was asked by county council officials to set up in Cramlington Library three years ago as part of efforts to promote community use of the facility, and safeguard its future.

But now that the library has moved to a new, multi-function building the knitters claim they are no longer wanted.

There have been complaints that their Wednesday meetings take up too much room, and that the noise they make disturbs some library users.

Yesterday Trevor Ambrose, vice-chairman of the town council, said the council chamber in the Concordia leisure centre had been considered, but ruled out as too small. He said: “The ladies are uncertain about the precise numbers, because the meetings can have anything between 12 and 30 knitters there.

“We are looking at what options are available for them, but nothing has been decided at the moment. The Plough is available and we are also looking at Manor Walks.

“We are trying to find them somewhere that doesn’t cost them anything to use.”

The county council has said it values the contribution the knitting group makes, and wants it to go on meeting in the new Cramlington library. However, it says the group has now outgrown the library space, and members have refused to split into two smaller groups.

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