e.g. Keighley, Tilbury, Bilston, Pudsey

The 50 towns in this cluster have seen rapid increases in their non-WB populations since 2011, as well as patterns of migration whereby a single group settles – rather than multiple different groups – meaning higher ‘uni-diversity’. The non- WB contingent are likely to be of south Asian, black African or eastern European heritage, as opposed to coming from West European groups, who are less likely to be on the receiving end of racist or xenophobic narratives based on ethnic-cultural difference. The areas will also have been more likely to be chosen as ‘asylum dispersal areas’.

These combinations of factors are most common in a raft of smaller towns to the North West of Birmingham, and on the fringes of Manchester and Leeds. Among the larger places in the grouping are Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton and Rotherham. This suggests that many of these areas will be vulnerable to the so-called ‘halo effect’ we have described on page 74.

Many of the towns in this cluster are experiencing a series of intersecting challenges alongside migration, such as high deprivation. Middlesbrough, for instance, has a higher number of asylum seekers, predominantly because the area has significant deprivation and accommodation is very cheap. Tilbury in Essex is diversifying very fast – in part because it is a very poor area, and remains one of the few places within touching distance of London which is affordable. 

This combination of factors means that cohesion in this cluster needs to be properly resourced and prioritised across local government service provision. The emphasis should be on creating connections through ideas like interfaith partnerships, as well as on central government funding for language learning and other policies which help to build bridges between groups.