London or Kent? Tiers are a question of identity in leafy Bexley

John Dunne
·2 min read
Canada Geese at Hall Place stately home Bexley (Barney Davis)
Canada Geese at Hall Place stately home Bexley (Barney Davis)

In leafy Bexley, the question is perennial: is the borough truly part of London, or merely a Kentish promontory on the edge of the capital?

Although many residents often insist on their self-appointed status as denizens of Kent, the latest coronavirus tier announcement appears to have caused something of an identity crisis.

“Bexley is Tier 2 hurrah! For the first time ever, Bexley is full of people denying they live in Kent!”, Antonia Bance wrote on Twitter.

On Thursday the Government announced London would exit lockdown into Tier 2, allowing for the limited reopening of hospitality and other businesses, while Kent would be subjected to tougher Tier 3 measures.

The porous border between the two tiers is evident in Bexley, whose 250,000 residents are more likely to do their Christmas shopping at nearby Bluewater (Kent) than Oxford Street.

Ms Bance wrote: “Lots of immediate chat exploding here on FB groups re where tier 2 Bexley stops and tier 3 Kent starts (half a mile from my front door, in the middle of a built up area).

“Not sure 'don’t visit tier three areas will fly given Bluewater is about to reopen. "

Steve@lovingnewbeer tweeted: "Tiers apply to boroughs, not county. So when Kent is deemed tier 3, it’s not all Kent, only Kent boroughs. This is a big difference. The boroughs of Bexley and Bromley are London boroughs - so tier 2!

Councillor James Hunt, the Mayor of Bexley, said the “rules must be followed”.

He tweeted: “Under the new system Bexley is in tier 2 as we are in London. The rules must be followed. We must keep the virus out we must protect our family and friends. Dartford is in a higher band tier 3 so bear that in mind if visiting.”