A neighbourhood divided - the Rushden road that leads to Tier Four

The border goes across the road between Rushden and Wymington

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 2:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 3:59 pm

As fears grow over the spread of the new variant of coronavirus and the likelihood that Northamptonshire could face tighter restrictions as early as Boxing Day, one street on the county border with Bedfordshire has been dealing with the different Tier levels.

Wymington Road in Rushden, in Northamptonshire, and Rushden Road in Wymington, in Bedfordshire, cuts across the county border and passes through invisible line between Tier Two and Tier Four.

Yesterday on a visit to the street residents were carrying on with their daily routines - jogging, cycling and driving across the boundary.

Residents Jon and Acqua Reeves, who live on the Northamptonshire side, have not been turning left out of their drive to avoid crossing into Tier Four.

Acqua said: "I can't go and see my sister Jacqui because she lives in Podington. It's less than three miles away but we don't think we can visit. We are using our own judgement."

Jon said: "It's madness. We just don't know what the rules are really. None of it makes any sense - the rules are very confusing."

Rushden resident Terry Harrisskitt has been walking his pugs Poppy and and Rosie on their usual route that takes him into Tier Four and back again.

Residents Jon and Acqua Reeves who live on the Northamptonshire side in Tier Two

He said: "I'm grateful we're this side of the border. It goes just past my house. We've just carried on as normal. It's all the same - people on this side have allotments in Bedfordshire and they can't be expected not to go there.

"As long as everyone is wearing a mask and uses their common sense it will be safe in this area.

"People are going to do what they like anyway."

One Bedfordshire resident, whose home is adjacent to the border but did not wish to be named, said: "It's a bit strange to not be able to go and buy milk from down the road.

Rushden resident Terry Harrisskitt with Rosie and Poppy

"We're supposed to go shopping in Tier Four."

People living in Tier Two can only meet socially with friends and family indoors who they either live with or have formed a support bubble with, unless a legal exemption applies.

‘Indoors’ means any indoor setting, including private homes and other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.

In Tier Two people can see friends and family they do not live with (or do not have a support bubble with) outdoors, in a group of no more than six. This limit of six includes children of any age.

Those in Tier Four must not leave or be outside of their home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ - for work and volunteering, or for essential activities such as shopping or obtaining services from a business which is permitted to open in a Tier 4 area, but people should stay 'local'.

Ministers are expected to meet today to discuss elevating more areas into Tier Three and Tier Four after the county recorded its highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases with nearly 400 positive tests.

Reports from a Downing Street briefing on Tuesday night revealed the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said it was likely that measures would "need to be increased" outside the current Tier Four regions.

Northamptonshire's director of public health, Lucy Wightman, confirmed fears that extra numbers visiting shops and retail parks in Northamptonshire was likely to be down to people coming into the county from nearby Tier Four areas, where non-essential shops are closed.

Health officials say around one in three people who have coronavirus do not show symptoms - and could therefore be spreading the virus without knowing.

Editor's note: Since this story was written it has been confirmed that Northamptonshire will move into Tier Three from one minute past midnight on Boxing Day.

Tier Three restrictions mean no mixing with family and friends at home and only in groups of up to six in public places outdoors, includes children of any age.

Pubs and restaurants must close unless they are operating as takeaways only.

But non-essential retailers; businesses such as hair, beauty and nail salons; gyms, pools, and leisure facilities; public buildings such as libraries can stay open.