In Brief

Inside the village split by a river into two lockdown tiers

A little-noticed boundary between two local authorities is dividing neighbours as England battles Covid-19

Perched beside the sea on the edge of the North York Moors, the fishing community of Staithes is a village divided as coronavirus rules draw a stark line through its picturesque streets.

Until the pandemic hit, “the only obvious difference between the cottages” on either side of Roxby Beck, which runs through the village, was “the colour of their wheelie bins”, says The Telegraph. But now, “on the north side of the river, around 40 houses have been stranded in ‘high’ Tier 2 restrictions, meaning they cannot mix with friends and family indoors”.

On the other side of the narrow beck, the majority of villagers sit within Tier 1, “and are free to socialise with neighbours in local pubs and cafes”, the Daily Mail reports.

Most visitors who cross the short bridge over the beck are “blissfully unaware that in doing so they are crossing an invisible municipal boundary”, adds Teesside Live. “While Staithes has a Teesside postcode, the vast majority of it falls under the auspices of Scarborough Borough Council, which is firmly in North Yorkshire.”

Covid 19 also seems to be oblivious of the border. Latest figures on coronavirus cases show “almost identical” levels of infection, which are “relatively low” on both sides, the news site reports.

Residents have greeted the great divide with a mixture of bemusement and resignation.

“I can understand that there’s got to be a boundary, and there will always be anomalies of one sort or another,” Colin Harrison, a retired solicitor, told The Telegraph. “But you’ve got to see some sort of reasoning behind these rules, or people will just think they are ridiculous and refuse to obey them.”

Colin Harvey, a retired chartered surveyor, is among those who regard the rules as “a bit of a joke”.

“A lot of people are totally confused, especially since we all share the same TS13 postcode,” he told the Daily Mail. “But it all comes down to who empties your bins, it seems.”

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