Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce’s response to rejection of extended Sunday Trading

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The President of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Michelle Greeves, has stressed her frustration surrounding the missed opportunity of Belfast City Councillors to vote in favour of Holiday Status for the Belfast area at the councils Strategic Policy and Resources Committee meeting this morning.

Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has been working on behalf of retailers in the city to secure Holiday Status for Belfast, as previously secured by six other councils in Northern Ireland, which would have allowed larger retailers to open earlier on Sundays up to eighteen times a year between March and September, to meet the demand of Tourists in the city.

Holiday Status was discussed by the councils Strategic Policy and Resources Committee and the majority of councillors voted against at this morning’s meeting after two previous deferrals on the issue.

The Chamber President said that: “Our city is buzzing on Sunday mornings, with tourists wandering the city, searching for something to do. They should have the option, as should our local customers, to make the choice to spend their time as they wish, either visiting tourist attractions, having coffee or shopping, it should be their choice.

“We communicated our views to the councillors, re-enforcing the rights of choice for

– Retailers to open for longer hours, if they want

– Tourists and local customers to shop, if they want

– Employees to work different shifts, if they want

“Extended shopping is not the only solution to creating a vibrant city centre, but is offers an additional choice, and would encourage more visitors to our city, where all businesses would benefit.

“Tourism has grown fantastically in Belfast over the last few years, it is a shame that we will continue to have closed retail doors, when they wander our city centre.

Michelle concluded: “The success of retail business in our city centre is essential, as part of the success of our city centre, this is missed opportunity.”