All garden centres 'should be open on Easter Sunday'


Call for garden centre hours change

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Ministers are being urged to end restrictions that prevent many garden centres in England and Wales from opening on Easter Sunday.

Trading laws mean larger nurseries and other shops of more than 3,000 sq ft (280 sq m) are forced to close on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

The Horticultural Trades Association said the rules were outdated and cost the industry millions of pounds.

The government said it had "no current plans" to relax the rules.

Smaller garden centres are able to open all year round, and the current laws do not apply in Scotland.

'Day off'

Start Quote

It enables us to give ourselves and our staff a day off over a busy bank holiday”

End Quote Alan Goold, garden centre owner

Any extension to the laws on opening hours could be opposed by church groups, as well as workers who take advantage of a day off during a busy trading period.

Raoul Curtis-Machin of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) told BBC South Today that garden centres were missing out on £5,500 each by staying shut for the day.

"That's a potential economic boost to the country of up to £75m," he added.

The HTA argues that opening on Easter Sunday would "contribute to stress-free family and social life by making it possible for them to enjoy garden centres for longer".

But Alan Goold, who runs a garden centre near Reading with his two brothers, said he welcomed the time off.

He said: "For us, it enables us to give ourselves and our staff a day off over a busy bank holiday weekend.

"We have three days when we are working - it gives us a day's break when we can spend it with the family and get them back refreshed for the next few days."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said Sunday trading laws had been relaxed during the 2012 Olympics to allow retailers to "take advantage of the unique opportunity the Games presented".

She said: "The suspension of the law only applied to the specified period, from 22 July to 9 September 2012. If the government wanted to look at this again there would be an opportunity for wider debate as new legislation would be required.

"The government has no current plans for a relaxation of the regulations."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    Close one day a week, close three days a week, stay open one day a week. Whatever. Just don't impose closures on people who don't follow your belief system. Employees bullied into serving on days when their religious beliefs demand a holiday should be protected, and non-religious employees should have equivalent time off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    If the church can open and bring in money than the garden centers should be allowed to as well ..........and any other business come to that

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    Businesses pay their substantial rates and rents for every day of the year. They and their staff should decide what days they will open for trade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Lots of people work onEaster Sunday in the leisure industry, shopping for non essentials is another form of leisure. What,s the big deal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    I HATE Sunday and Bank Holiday opening. So unnecessary. You can go shopping any other day Monday - Saturday. Lots of shops open late, some 24 hours. Let's go back to Keep Sunday Special as it used to be. Garden centres do NOT need to open on Easter Sunday. There is absolutely no need for them to do so.


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