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The Horticultural Trades Association said the rules were outdated and cost the industry millions of pounds.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

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    Once again the BBC insists of giving the anti religionists the platform to denounce any and all forms of community cohesion - unless of course it suits them and their fellow weirdo's. Why is it that being a Christian in a largely and historically Christian country is always under attack yet our other brothers and sisters in Islam for instance are left to play on their own?

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    "garden centres were missing out on £5,500 each.... That's a potential economic boost to the country of up to £75m,"

    Surely if someone needs to buy a new lawn mower and the garden centre is shut, they will buy the lawn mower another day?? How is the country losing the money? It is a laughable statement.

    Most GCs are a rip off anyway. I can buy better and cheaper plants at my local market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    I feel the argument should not be about shopping days or the greed of the owners. I find it amusing that any regulations should exist which dictate when any retail outlet should remain closed. What difference does it make?

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    I am all for Sunday opening and free trade and I would hate to go back to the grey Sunday afternoons of the 70s and 80s where nothing was open but I think two days a year where most things shuts if fine.

    If you have a big store or garden centre then you are probably making enough money so let the smaller ones have a day to get one over on you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    The quoted figures are highly questionable - if people wanted to buy there are plenty of other days to go shopping.

    Easter Sunday and Christmas are probably the only days the air quality in the UK improves. If we did away with Sunday Trading the country would be better off as 9 million people wouldn't have to work as well. There's only so much money to spend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    Most of the people who would shop on Easter Sunday would simply not shop another day. They don't suddenly have extra money just because the shops are open. You do have to wonder whether ideas like this are actually being promulgated by payday loan sharks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    There is no magic £75M economic boost by forcing them to open. The same expenditure will be spread over more days making them less efficient overall.

    Of course if one open all the other will be FORCED to open also to protect their trade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Even the shops in the US are closed today. Are we trying to outdo the yanks again?

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    "You'll find it is very Pagan in origin as are most concepts

    Bet most of the secularists on here got married in church and had their kids christened though.

    Big talk eh? "

    Yep, but the trading restrictions are because of Christianity. I am not Christened, my children will not be. I will not get married in Church. I want to ditch Sunday trading.

    Your move.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Try living in a Middle Eastern country - you'd soon find out when you could shop, what you could buy and even what you can do!
    Why is it necessary to be able to shop every day? The people who work in them often get paid a pittance or prices would be even higher.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Since this is now a less than Christian country I think the law should be changed to let business's open.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    this country is no longer Christian so what's the issue. If you open he gates then don't blame the fish that swim through.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    ~252. You would need to call it Gethsemane

    As for non-Christian garden centres, I am sure the Human Rights Act can be used as the Christian principles behind closure are discriminatory - whoops can of worms opened!

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    Do they have a rest day or something similar to Sunday in North Korea?
    Do the Saudi's prohibit trading on Fridays?
    I wish I knew how societies superior to ours manage these things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Wandering around a garden centre is a leisure activity for most people - most things on sale are "wants" not "needs" so there is not the same commercial pressure as other shops - an exemption to the law is required. Perhaps the HTA have put the argument across in the wrong way by adding a financial aspect. I know from experience how many customers are annoyed cos we are closed today!

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Today is the most sacred day for Christians, it's bad enough that racing and the bookies have been allowed to gamble on Good Friday. For once as a Christian nation could we not observe a little respect and faith on these days.

    As for Garden centres whinging and the supermarket giants, don't you all make enough money, to spare a couple of days off a year, disgusting really !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Only two days a year when families in the main, can spend time together. Money grabbers, you can have your pound of flesh tommorrow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Don't forget, the Government are in control,they need to tell you what to do, and when to do it, that way you remain subservient and without a choice.

    Religion is secondary to their desire to own you, tell what to do and when to do it.

    Disagree ? Who decides outlets can open or otherwise on days like these ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Im all for letting shops open when and if they want to, why should they be dictated to by the church, its got nothing to do with them, they should wake up to the fact that we live in a society that works 24/7. Its more offensive that they try and force their religious views on me.


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