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Issue 6 - June 1972
In the last issue (page 3 - 'Do They Care?') we wrote about the candidates for Newcastle City Council being sent a questionnaire by SOC'EM in an attempt to assess, and make public, Councillors' concern for the environment.

Out of 83 questionnaires sent, only six were returned by the date specified - no Conservatives, no Liberals, no Communists, the one Independent and five out of forty-three Labour. A further seven were received later from Labour men. SOC'EM also received one letter from a Conservative who was going to send a "full and constructive answer as soon as possible" - it has never arrived - and one letter from a Labour Councillor supporting "any agitation that makes people think about the future".

Without going into details, the great majority of the answers were in favour of SOC'EM's proposals, with the exception of the suggestion that free public transport should be provided out of the rates. None of the questions was answered unanimously in favour of SOC'EM's suggestions.

Of those that returned the questionnaires three were re-elected, six were not up for election and four were defeated.

Meanwhile SOC'EM are continuing their protests against the destruction of Newcastle. They have presented a petition of 6,000 signatures to the City Planning Committee about the 'Douglas' site, which was 'vetoed' virtually out of hand. Since then the numbers of people asking to sign the petition have increased, so they are continuing with it.

The City Council has continued to publicise the myth that it would cost Newcastle ratepayers some £2m to buy the site and turn it into an open square. Whereas the truth is that the City Planning Officer in his report to the Planning Committee, actually wrote: "The total foreseeable cost, therefore, is not easy to estimate, but it could possibly amount to about £1m, including purchase of the site".

SOC'EM is also concerned with Quayside, the Old Assembly Rooms, Jesmond Cemetery Gates and Brandling and Exhibition Parks. They have also published various pamphlets and reports and are now producing a monthly progress report. Monthly public meetings are also taking place.

For membership, help, pamphlets, reports etc, contact SOC'EM at 79 Roseberry Crescent, N'cle 2. Tel 810985 or 612611.