TfL removes knitting which was brightening up Norbury as it ‘could have caused a crash’
Street cleaners were ordered to bin knitted decorations scattered around Norbury’s high street – which would have gone on to be donated to homeless people – because Transport for London claimed they could distract drivers.
Knitting Norbury Together, a “guerrilla knitting club” whose members don’t reveal their identities, decided they would mark the Queen’s 90th birthday by brightening up London Road.
They hoped the secret mission would put a smile on residents’ faces, so wrapped the decorations around trees, draped them over bollards and hung them from street lamps.
The 30-strong group spent six months knitting their trinkets and were planning for them to be on display for two weeks, before they washed them and then turned them into blankets, hats and scarves for charities which support the homeless and refugees.
However, after a week street cleaners were told by TfL to remove the vast majority of the wooly creations as bosses feared they would draw drivers’ attention away from the road and potentially cause a crash.
Patriotic coloured knitting on bike racks in Norbury
“The group had agreed if they were falling down, we would take them down, but we were going to wash them and make blankets, scarves and hats [out of them] for those in need.
“I think they have done some people a disservice as people could have benefited from the knitwear.
“They’ve taken our knitting but all the stickers for the massages and prostitutes are still there. At least we covered those.”
The local community came together on the Bank Holiday weekend in early June to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and the area as part of the Love Norbury campaign.
Some of the knitting jazzing up London Road
Knitters held a similar “yarn explosion” in November but only left decorations up for a few hours as a trial ahead of this summer’s main event.
The knitting group admit they did not tell TfL about their plans, for fear it would take a long time to get authorisation, but had let Norbury’s councillors know.
Councillor Maggie Mansell said: “The knitters have done a lot of work for charity and I think people feel very hurt and I do not blame them.
“It’s really sad this has happened.”
The secret knitter said that out of 80 bobble hats put on bollards, she saved 35 that weren’t removed and they will be given to young, deprived children.
Some of the remaining knitwear may be sold to raise funds for charities such as Knitting for Peace and Spires.
The flags put in to storage by the knitters
A spokesman for TfL said it asked the contractors to take down the knitwear last Thursday (June 16) because it could have posed a safety risk by distracting drivers travelling along the main road.
He added: “We have checked to see whether we still had it [the knitting] but it has been disposed of.
“We weren’t aware of what was going on and I know this is a secret knitting group but in similar situations, if they are able to let us know, then hopefully this will reduce this sort of thing happening again.”