How Wakefield became West Yorkshire growth hotspot – The Yorkshire Post says

THERE has been a lazy presumption on the part of some London commentators, ahead of next week’s inaugural metro mayor election in the West Riding, to think that the county revolves around Leeds and then Bradford to a lesser extent.

It does not. West Yorkshire is also home to Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield – all of which will come under the jurisdiction of a mayor who, predictably, will be based in Leeds.

But it would be remiss of the seven candidates currently vying for this role to overlook the economic potential of Wakefield – especially given its proximity to the M1, M62 and A1M as well as the East Coast Main Line.

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And this is highlighted by the regeneration of sites like the former Newmarket Colliery where 1,500 new jobs will be created as a result of planning permission being granted for a new distribution hub.

An aerial view of Wakefield. Picture Scott Merrylees.

Not only does this plan by developer Henry Boot makes the most of the area’s road links, but it is another vote of confidence in an area which continues to attract new investment following the opening of The Hepworth Wakefield exactly 10 years ago.

An inspired tourist attraction to showcase the work of the acclaimed sculptor Barbara Hepworth, this has coincided with Wakefield, and also neighbouring Selby, becoming growth hotspots.

The challenge is making sure this investment is also matched by the provision of affordable housing and local amenities if these regeneration projects are to maximise their economic and social potential while easing the region’s dependency on cities like Leeds for the creation of new jobs and opportunities.

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It is 10 years since The Hepworth Wakefield opened.