Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Sunday shopping: Council appeals for public views on improving city

The council is working to regenerate the city centre.
The council is working to regenerate the city centre.

Belfast council has launched an appeal to the public on what it can do to improve the Sunday experience for people in the city.

Last year an attempt to designate the city centre as a "holiday resort" allowing it to extend Sunday trading hours through the summer was rejected.

After two consultations on the matter there was a slight majority of 52% in favour allowing bigger shops to open on the Sunday.

Independent retailers and trade unions were against the matter claiming it would give an advantage to multi-national firms and be unfair to workers.

However, others representing the tourist and hospitality trades welcomed the move.

On Tuesday the Belfast City Council announced another consultation. It said it has invested significantly along with others in the regeneration and development of the city centre.

The investment has focused on improving access, providing leisure activities, creating family spaces, the retail offering, supporting residential development and improving the experience for tourists.

The council said it recognised the way in which people used the city centre had changed "significantly" over recent years.

A spokesman said: "Tourists, in particular, make a significant contribution to the local economy. Last year, 28 ships docked in Belfast on a Sunday, carrying 46,000 passengers and crew, while hotel occupancy on a Saturday evening in Belfast averaged at around 85%.

"This has been identified as creating a demand for things to do and see on a Sunday – and also presents opportunities to support the local economy and create jobs."

The results of the consultation will be used by Belfast City Council to develop a ‘Sundays in the City’ programme to enhance the city centre on Sundays, driving people into the area to spend with local retail, hospitality, leisure and cultural providers.

It is hoped plans will revitalise and strengthen the city centre’s economic and social regeneration, in line with ambitions set out in The Belfast Agenda, Belfast’s Community Plan.

The consultation is open until Friday 17 January, 2020 and available here.

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