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Couple Living In Tier Two Can't Have People In Garden Because It's In Tier Three

Couple Living In Tier Two Can't Have People In Garden Because It's In Tier Three

Sheila and Philip's house sits on the boundary between two councils

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

An elderly couple whose home is in Tier Two are not allowed to have people in their own garden because it's in Tier Three.

Sheila and Philip Herbert live in a three-bedroom house in Otley, West Yorkshire, but as their strets splits between two counties, when the couple are in their conservatory, they're in Tier Two, and when they step foot into their garden, they're back up to Tier Three.

Tier Two means people are allowed to meet up in groups of six outdoors, including in private gardens - something that is prohibited under Tier Three.

The couple's bizarre situation is due to a culvert - an underground channel of water - which runs directly beneath their home and acts as the boundary between Leeds City Council, West Yorks, and Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorks.

Sheila, 74, a retired chiropodist, and husband Philip, a former executive officer in the justice system, were not aware of the situation when they moved into the house 18 years ago.

Sheila and Philip didn't realise their house sat on the boundary between two councils when they moved in.

"It's all one big conundrum. Our house is in Harrogate and our garden is in Leeds," said Sheila.

"It's almost one toe in each county when we're stepping outside.

"We are just being sensible. We go shopping at the nearest supermarket, which is in Tier Three, but they are all open anyway, so hopefully I'm not breaking any rules."

Adding: "My daughter lives in Tier Three, but we are in her support bubble so as long as I can still see her, that's all I'm bothered about."

The majority of houses in the picturesque market town of Otley are in Leeds City Council's remit, but some properties fall under Harrogate's jurisdiction.

Sheila went on: "My next-door neighbour pays her council tax to Leeds and we pay our council tax to Harrogate.

"Every time new announcements are made, I just think, 'Am I breaking the rules?'"

The couple can't have people in their garden as it's in Tier Three.

The strange quirk also means they have to travel nine miles to recycle their waste rather than using their local centre.

She added: "Our bins are collected by different councils and we can't use our local recycling centre.

"We didn't know when we moved in, it's an Otley address, an Otley postcode, we just assumed we lived in Otley and that was it.

"You don't expect your garden to be in a different county from your house.

"We first found out about the boundary when we went to the recycling centre and they were doing spot checks.

"They told us we couldn't use it as we live in Harrogate. We have to use one that is nine miles away rather the one that is just about a mile and half away."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: lockdown, Coronavirus, Weird, Politics, Health, Covid-19