Following the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994 there have been no restrictions on shopping hours - apart from Sundays. All shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.
Restrictions on opening times on Sundays are now confined to large shops (defined under the Act as those having an internal sales area of over 280sq.m). The critical consideration is the floor area definition, which is clarified as meaning the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer services.
Large shops must:
be registered with the Council for trading on a Sunday, and
specify the six hours of trading on a Sunday which must be between the hours of 10.00 to 18.00, and
provide a sign visible both internally and externally specifying the times of trading
remain closed on Easter Sunday (and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday).
The council keeps a public register of the large shops operating in its area.
Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.
Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.
In order to apply for a Sunday trading registration traders need to provide details of the shop and your intended opening hours on a Sunday to the Licensing Service (details below). Please note that if your shop is smaller than 280sq.m, then an application is not required.
Once your application has been accepted, the council will arrange for your registration to be entered on the register.