Poll results reveal more than half of Hadleigh shoppers are against Sunday trading
More than 65% of readers would prefer shops did not open on Sundays in Hadleigh, results of an online poll have revealed.
The debate over Sunday trading laws was re-ignited this week after the town’s chamber of commerce asked shoppers for their views.
Large scale plans to overhaul the laws – which would give councils the freedom to set their own opening hours – were dropped in March last year.
But in a Facebook post shared by several residents, Hadleigh’s business hub put the question to shoppers once again.
They said: “Modern retail is a 24/7 activity, would you shop in the High Street if it were open on a Sunday?”
When a poll by this newspaper asked similar questions on Friday, the results exposed division.
Around 66% of people said shops should not open on Sundays, with participants suggesting it should be a day of relaxation and family time.
Closer to 70% felt longer opening hours would not benefit the town.
Leigh Mills, who runs Sweet Memories, said she already opens six days a week.
She added: “I need the one day off to do everything I need to do including things for the shop, not including my home life and family time.”
Resident Sarah Martin said: “Part of the charm of Hadleigh is that it still feels like a quaint Suffolk village, the perfect place for families and children.
“I live in Hadleigh and work on the High Street and would hate to see Sunday trading.”
However, Kathryn Grandon – a district councillor – said the town may benefit from Sunday trading.
She added: “I understand that with many of the shops being small and independent it creates hardship for some owners, but long-term it might benefit them.”
Chamber of commerce chairman Sean Garnham, who sparked the debate, owns two branches of Hall Street clothing in Hadleigh and Long Melford.
He said: “For us, we are a business that lends itself well to Sunday opening. We get around 14% of our yearly turnover from opening on Sundays.
“I am not unsympathetic to people who are against working or shopping.
“But what I would say to them is do they shop online, or use supermarkets on those days?
Mr Garnham added: “Unfortunately some shops do need to open on Sundays to survive.
“Hadleigh is already on the map as a great little destination to eat out and to shop, but we have to keep it that way.