Letter: An area pushed to breaking point

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The Independent Online
Sir: I write in response to the letters (2 March) of Jeremy Beecham, leader of Newcastle city council and Jonathan Blackie, director of City Challenge in Newcastle, concerning the social and economic state of areas of west Newcastle.

I was for eight years a resident of North Benwell and was only too glad to leave an area rapidly plummeting downwards. In the last couple of years, despite the protestations of the above correspondents, Benwell suffered from neglect by the city council.

The modernisation of council estates in Newcastle has resulted in families with severe economic and social problems being cleared out of those estates, many of whom now live in private rented accommodation in the Benwell area. This has contributed greatly to pushing the social fabric of the area to breaking point.

Problems such as vandalism, general despoliation of the environment, burglary, drug dealing, intimidation and few youth facilities reveal the lack of an overall strategy on the part of the city council and other agencies towards these problems.

However, the city council has been operating within severe economic constraints enforced by central government spending restrictions.

Yours sincerely,

RICHARD HURRER

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

4 March

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