For most people in England it is quite clear what level their area falls under.
But it is much more confusing for a West Yorkshire woman.
Sheila Herbert has discovered that her home is below level 2, while her garden is below level 3.
Sheila, who lives in a quiet cul-de-sac with her husband, describes the bizarre matter as “a mystery”, Yorkshire Live Reports.
While most homeowners on the street pay their taxes to Harrogate Borough Council, a small collection of eight houses at the bottom of Riverside Park falls under the purview of Leeds City Council.
Over the years, it has raised a number of irregularities – from waste collection to school places – but the introduction of the government’s three-pronged system has again thrown a spanner in the works.
The dilemma is most problematic for 74-year-old Sheila and her husband, who have lived in the area for 18 years.
A culvert passes directly below their garden and the underground water channel acts as the official boundary between West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.
“Our house in Harrogate and our garden is in Leeds,” she said.
“The diver cuts right through my garden. In fact, he goes right under the corner of the conservatory.
‘When we’re in the conservatory we’re in Harrogate, but when we’re in the garden we’re in Leeds. It’s almost a toe in every province when we go out. ‘
The strange quirk came about almost 50 years ago, when the houses were built above the culvert, but the boundary between the provinces remained.
While most of the townhouses are connected to the town, most of the houses on Riverside Park are actually connected to North Yorkshire.
Only eight dead end properties follow the rest of Otley’s ties by coming under the jurisdiction of Leeds City Council.
Sheila’s house spans both.
“My neighbor pays her council tax to Leeds and we pay our council tax to Harrogate,” she said.
“Officially my neighbors are in level 3 and we are in level 2.
‘That is the most important. It is ridiculous.
“I just went to Sainsbury’s in Otley, which is in Tier 3. I am not supposed to officially go to Tier 3, am I? But what should I do?
‘My daughter lives in Otley -‘ real ‘Otley – so officially she can’t come and see me, but she’s in my bubble. It’s a nightmare.
“Every time new announcements are made I just think ‘Am I breaking the rules?’.
“It’s all a mystery, but I’m just sensible.”
John Coyle, 66, lives right next door to Sheila, but unlike his neighbor, he lives in Leeds and therefore lives under Tier 3 rules.
He said, “In 20 years, this [being in Tier 2] is the only benefit everyone has had on closing!
“There are many more benefits to being in Leeds, because of all the local services in Otley. There aren’t really any benefits to living here and being classified as North Yorkshire – until now!”
A few doors down is Malcolm Hodgkins, another resident currently living under Tier 3 regulations.
He bought the house 45 years ago when it was first built and knows more than most about the strange invisible border that divides the friendly street in two.
He said, “There must be a line somewhere. Unfortunately for us, that is in the middle of the street.
‘But it is just the way it is. War is going on. We just have to keep doing it. ‘
Just when residents thought it couldn’t get any more complicated, a man who lives nearby called the Leeds City Council to clarify what level they live on.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said he was told that every house on Riverside Park is on level 2 – no matter who they pay their council tax – because all the trash cans on the street are collected by the Harrogate Borough Council. .
However, the message has not yet been conveyed to all eight homeowners associated with Leeds.
Malcolm said, “I’m in Tier 3 because I pay my council tax to Leeds. People along the way pay their taxes to Harrogate, so they’re in Tier 2.”
For Sheila, the odd thing is just a line drawn on a piece of paper and it doesn’t change how she feels about her hometown.
She said, “I’ll get all the Otley papers, I’ll go shopping in Otley.
“To me, I’m more Otley than Harrogate.”