Population of Wakefield district predicted to near 400,000 by 2030

The population of the Wakefield district is expected to edge closer to the 400,000 mark by 2030, a report has said.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 5:37 pm
The population of the district has grown sharply in recent years, as a result of people moving to the area from elsewhere in the UK.

Wakefield Council's annual statement of accounts said the number of local people was forecast to reach 385,400 by the end of the decade.

That would be a significant rise on the 348,400 people currently living here.

The population of the district, which is made up of the city of Wakefield, nine towns and rural villages, has grown sharply in recent years.

Pontefract town centre

An influx of working age people migrating from elsewhere in the UK, accompanied by housebuilding schemes, has recently prompted the biggest annual increases in the local population since the 1990s.

Meanwhile, a paper on the state of local housing in Wakefield, which is going before senior councillors next week, said that the number of homes being built fell slightly last year, though that's been attributed to the impact of Covid.

Issues with the supplies of building materials, and a decrease in planning applications as developers concentrate on finishing off current sites, have also been cited as factors.

Campaigners and local councillors have regularly expressed concerns about the impact an increased population will have on doctor's surgeries, schools and roads.

But speaking in January this year, the council's chief executive, Andrew Balchin, said the authority carried out long-term planning to prepare for new influxes of people.

He said then: "When we're looking at housing growth in the district, it doesn't happen overnight. We do try to forecast what we might need in terms of additional services.

"We look closely at educational needs and school places in particular.

"We look very carefully at extra costs that might be associated with bin rounds, because we can't continue to expand our waste collections services every year without extra people or extra equipment.

"We try to forecast it all well in advance so it doesn't just land on the taxpayer in one go. We try to spread it out over a number of years."

The statement of accounts also says that the number of people over the age of 80 in Wakefield will increase by 40 per cent between now and 2030.

Local Democracy Reporting Service