Dorking knitters ordered to remove cockerel statue clothing
COUNCIL officials ordered a "guerilla knitting group" to remove decorations from Dorking's cockerel statue.
The woollen items were put out by members of the "Knit and Knatter" group, who meet for knitting sessions at the Fluff-A-Torium shop in West Street.
But this week a Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) officer told the group to remove the colourful items.
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Gillian Harris, who owns the Fluff-A-Torium, said: "A man from the council came in and asked me if I knew anything about it.
"I said it wasn't me but I did know the people involved, and he said they have had some complaints and it all needs to be taken down."
The items were removed by Knit and Knatter members on Monday evening and Clare Davies, who led the group, told the Advertiser she was disappointed.
"It's not like it's graffiti or anything, so we were really hoping they would let us keep it up," she said.
Speaking on Monday afternoon, she added: "We were reading some books on wool bombing and guerilla knitting and we thought we would do something a little bit different to just sitting and knitting, but I suppose we had better do what they say. I just hope they let us put it back."
Mrs Harris said the council official who visited her suggested decorations would be allowed at times of celebration such as the Jubilee, so she hopes they can be put back up for the Olympics.
Commenting on the Advertiser's Facebook group, Susan Garrod wrote: "What spoil sports. I think it looks great, what harm is it doing?"
And Melanie Marsh wrote: "I would assume the council officials would have better things to do."
News of the council crackdown spread on social networking site Twitter, with people using the hashtags #freethedorkingknittinggroup and #cockerelgate to make their views known.
MVDC chief executive Darren Mepham said: "The decorations which adorned the cockerel roundabout to mark the Jubilee celebrations were great and added to the spirit of the occasion.
"But they were never intended to be a permanent fixture. More than a week after they went up they were starting to look a bit sorry for themselves and all the wet weather hadn't helped.
"As a matter of courtesy we spoke with the owner of the Fluffatorium in Dorking and provided them the opportunity to reclaim decorations they had clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating."
- For more on this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's Dorking Advertiser.