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Northern Exposure: Wakefield Policy/Media Briefing

Wednesday 11 May 2022, 2-4pm

Wakefield Town Hall Policy/Media Briefing

At Wakefield Town Hall, Wood Street, Wakefield WF1 2HQ, 2-4pm


Team members of the Northern Exposure project present and discuss findings and policy issues from the project with an audience of project participants, stakeholders, and representatives of the local authority.

The event was reported in Northern Agenda on 10 May 2022


Wakefield's community tensions under the microscope

It will soon become the epicentre of the British political universe as campaigners and media descend in a bid to win over the West Yorkshire city in the upcoming Parliamentary byelection.

But in recent weeks Wakefield has also been the subject of a large-scale social scientific study asking questions about "community relations, economic marginalisation, and political disaffection in the aftermath of Brexit and during the COVID crisis".

The Northern Exposure project was carried out by a team of experienced sociologists over three years in what are described as 'four classic red wall' locations in the North; Preston, Halifax, Wakefield and Middlesbrough.

The Wakefield study which focused on the Eastmoor and Agbrigg areas of the city and those living in nearby Knottingley uncovered a widely-held perception that Labour-run Wakefield District Council prioritises the city at the expense of the surrounding “five towns”.

And academics described "very real and difficult challenges posed by the diversification of migrant incomer populations, with growing East European (especially Polish), asylum seeker and Roma populations, particularly concerning communication and inclusion during the COVID crisis".

Other concerns included dismay at the ongoing ‘hollowing out’ of local high streets and concern about the extent and pace of new-build housing development. An event to discuss the fascinating findings is being held tomorrow at Wakefield Town Hall from 2pm to 4pm.