Members of a thriving ladies’ knitting club have been told they will have to move out of their base in a public library – because they take up too much space and are too noisy.
Up to 30 women attend the weekly Knit and Natter group held in Cramlington Library, Northumberland, knitting items such as baby burial gowns, hats and blankets for the NHS.
The group was asked by county council officials to set up in the 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 morning meetings take up too much room, and that the noise they make disturbs some library users.
Now it looks as though the group will be moving to a new home - but members feel aggrieved at their treatment. Margaret Derrick, one of the six founders members, said: “We recently moved into the new building but the council now says we are too big. We get up to 30 women on a Wednesday, but sometimes there are only 10 of us.
“We have also been told we are too noisy, but that was never the case at the old library.
“Because everything is on castors, we have suggested that the shelves could be moved for the two hours when we have our meeting, but that was dismissed.
“We have got until September to find new premises and Cramlington Town Council is supporting us to the hilt. They have said they will help us with any costs.
“We are devastated because we feel we have been used by the county council to get the head count up at the library and get a new building, but now we are not needed any more.
“We got the library a lot of publicity by knitting a Christmas tree in 2011 and making boobs for the NHS for breastfeeding training. We will try to carry on as a group but we have no funds and relied on the free use of the library.”
Cramlington county councillor Wayne Daley said: “For the first action of the new library to be to turf out a group of lady knitters on the basis of a couple of complaints about noise is unbelievable and unacceptable.
“They are there for two hours a week out of 48 operating hours, and if they are said to be taking up too much space it calls into question whether this new library is fit for purpose.”
Coun Daley, who is also a town councillor, said two alternative venues for the knitting group are being looked at, one at the town council chamber in the Concordia leisure centre and the other a youth facility in the Manor Walks shopping centre.
A county council spokeswoman said: “We very much value the contribution of the knitting group and want them to go on meeting in the new Cramlington Library and Customer Service Centre. However, the group is now regularly attracting up to 30 people and, unfortunately, has outgrown the library space. We also have to take into account the needs of library users who are trying to access the book shelves.
“We have asked them to perhaps split into two smaller groups, but the group organiser has refused this offer. We are currently looking into finding alternative accommodation for the group. We hope a solution can be found soon.”