Nicholl says change in Sunday trading hours needed

Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has said a change in Sunday opening hours for shops could bring many benefits to Belfast and beyond.

The South Belfast Councillor was speaking ahead of the issue being raised at a Belfast City Council Committee meeting tomorrow (Friday). A current proposal would see specific areas of the city designated as a ‘holiday resort,’ which would lead to an extension of Sunday trading hours for large shops for up to 18 Sundays, other than Easter Sunday, between March 1 and September 30 each year.

Councillor Nicholl said it could be the first step towards making the city more accessible and welcoming for tourists.

“If we are serious about bringing more tourists and more revenue into Belfast and wider across Northern Ireland, we need to look at what makes us a viable destination. When we have a number of major shops which don’t open on Sundays, that does not help make our case for a Belfast to work, visit and invest.

“It is understandable people need a day off but there is a balance to be struck in tourist-heavy areas in particular. Recently, I walked through Victoria Square one Sunday morning and came across a group of confused tourists who were keen to spend their money in our shops but were unable to. It is a scene that is repeated across the city every week.

“With the recent EU referendum result and subsequent fall of the pound, we need to be doing all we can to help our city and broader economy. Sunday opening of our shops would be a major step towards doing all that.”

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