Salisbury protesters 'knit it to the man'

Knitting Protestors in Salisbury Market Place Knitting Protestors in Salisbury Market Place

The patient craft of knitting conjures images of a warm fireside, the steady click, clack of needles creating a comforting jumper or sock.

Who knew that knitting could also line up alongside the megaphones and placards of a protest rally?

But this week Salisbury Market Place awoke to trees and signs festooned with items knitted and crocheted by hand.

The 1960s-style slogan of Knit 4 Justice is "knit it to the man." Their creations in red wool mock the red tape they claim Wiltshire Council is ignoring.

Start Quote

It's hard to think of a more idiotic suggestion”

End Quote Helen Farmer Knit 4 Justice

The campaigners object to the loss of disabled parking spaces as Wiltshire Council plan to create a "European-style piazza" at the centre of the city, claiming the eight spaces in the Guildhall Square are the only places within 250m of the Library, Post Office, and banks.

Council alternatives

The council says alternatives will be provided before the spaces are closed, and received more than 100 replies to a public consultation.

Salisbury Area Board chairman Richard Clewer said: "We have worked very hard with local people to come up with a design that fits with their aspirations for the squares.

"The plans include repaving the Market Place with granite and Yorkstone, adding new seating and lighting, and building new disabled toilet facilities."

But Helen Farmer for the protest group said: "This will be a disaster. Other car parks are only accessible by narrow and uneven pavements. It's hard to think of a more idiotic suggestion."

The city has a high proportion of older people. There are 6,000 blue badge holders in the Salisbury area, and there is a legal obligation for councils to provide parking spaces close to essential services.

Instead of a planning application, Wiltshire Council propose to use a traffic regulation order to make the changes.

If they hoped to avoid noisy objections, well then it worked. But the sight of disabled people quietly knitting in protest may be more powerful still.

Peter Henley Article written by Peter Henley Peter Henley Political editor, South of England

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  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    We are not protesting AGAINST red tape. Our 'Red Tape' is symbolic of the rules and regulations which are there to PROTECT disabled people, and which Wilts Council is ignoring - the 2010 Eqality Act, and especially section 149; the Public Sector Equality Duty, which states that the Council must make equality considerations central to EVERYTHING they do - some Red Tape is good! Knit it to the Man!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Wiltshire Council are a nasty, bullying lot, who don't think they need to consult with anyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    The idea of the red tape was to highlight the fact that not all red tape is bad, some is actually there to protect the vulnerable. The point we wanted to make is that Wiltshire Council are ignoring 'red tape' in this instance by not adhering to the Equalities Act 2010. Also not all the knitters were grannies - look at the picture!

    Also, not all the knitters were grannies - See the picture!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Typical of Wiltshire Council to try to bypass the democratic process with a 'Traffic Order'. That has no validity in a major redevelopment of a pedestrian area surely?
    The disabled and those of limited mobility, even if temporary due to broken bones, should be able to access shops and facilities easily. That needs parking spaces near enough to help and people have to use cars due to lack of buses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Ha, this is fabulous. The idea of complacent grannies knitting jumpers is a good 15 years out of date. Good for them!



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