Consultation begins on opening Belfast shops for longer on Sundays
Belfast City Council has opened a consultation on opening city shops for longer on Sundays.
The council is seeking views on designating the city as a "holiday resort" meaning shops could open for longer between March and September.
The provision would exclude opening on Easter Sunday and only allow big shops - those over 280 sq metres in floor space or around the size of a tennis court - to open on 18 Sundays throughout the year.
Council said the proposal was made in response to a "strong lobby" within the city, primarily from Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, as a means of improving Belfast’s tourism offering, boosting the local economy and supporting the city centre’s regeneration.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, former Belfast Chamber of Commerce president Hugh Black said: "There's a law that says the council can offer holiday resort status to their town for 18 weeks a year if it meets the right criteria. Newry is a holiday resort because the local council gave them that status. Kilkeel and Portrush are as well.
"It gives the large stores the opportunity to open longer hours for 18 weeks from April until the end of September and we see that as an opportunity now with the amount of foreign tourists."