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Coronavirus: Inside the Wigan street with two sets of lockdown rules

Delphside Road is a quiet residential street in Wigan that's now divided by new restrictions.

Published at 5:10pm 2nd August 2020. (Updated at 7:58pm 2nd August 2020) 4-minute read.

Coronavirus: Inside the Wigan street with two sets of lockdown rules

Delphside Road is a quiet residential street in Wigan that's now divided by new restrictions.

Half of the houses are classed as being in the district of West Lancashire, and the other half are in Greater Manchester, a region with one of the highest rates of infection in England.

On Friday people living in Greater Manchester, along with some parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire, were told that unlike most of the country, they must not meet people from other households inside a private home or garden, or socialise with them in other indoor public venues.

But half of the residents on Delphside Road are baffled that their neighbours who are classed as living in West Lancashire can roam as before, but they cannot.

Stewart Frodsham's lost liberties are disrupting not only his family life, but potentially his work, too. He often relies on his nearby parents and in-laws to care for his six-year-old son, Thomas.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "My mum lives a few streets away and my wife's mum lives in town and we can't take our six-year-old to see them. We're faced with that choice, break rules and do it anyway or one of us does not go to work.

"It seems really strange to have had it given to you a few weeks back and then had it taken away."

Stewart's mum and dad, Ann and William, can't wait to see their grandchild again. Despite being a few minutes away, their postcode places them in West Lancashire. Both of them are over 70 and have missed social contact during the coronavirus lockdown.

Even their golden wedding anniversary was celebrated in solitary. The sweet relief of seeing their grandchildren last week was dashed when the restrictions for Stewart's family came into effect.

Speaking to Sky News, Ann said it is "depressing" to go back into what feels like lockdown again.

"We just feel like we're back to square one, basically," she said. "We thought we were making progress, it just feels like it's been snatched away again. We feel mixed up, really - one minute they're saying this and one minute they're saying the other."

William can't wait to be reunited with his grandchildren.

"It knocks you, doesn't it? We had them for a spell and now they've been taken away from us again," he said. "I don't get it, we've been social distancing and covering up, and even if they did or could come over they would still be keeping their distance. We just want to be able to see them."

The border between the counties is marked by an underground drainpipe. Both sides are already used to having different rubbish collectors.

Steve Martland at number seven is renovating his garden ready for entertaining guests. It's something he's still allowed to do, as he's classed as living in West Lancashire.

He feels for the residents who need to obey the new restrictions, but likes to cheekily remind them of his privileges now and again.

Speaking to Sky News, he said bringing a smile to their faces is the least he can do. "I smile at them as they walk down the street, just checking they've got their passports as they cross over into West Lancs," he said.

"To be honest, it's always been weird, like when the bin men come round there's always two lots. This is strange but you just get on with it. It doesn't really bother me too much, we can still see them if we pass by their houses and wave and say hello.

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"I sometimes tell them to get back to their own end and they laugh. We're a close street, when it was VE Day we all had a quiz and a sing song outside. We just get on."

There's no timescale on how long the new rules will be in place. So for now families like the Frodshams, and others on their half of the street, have no choice but to adapt while those who don't have to abide by the restrictions are counting themselves lucky.

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