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Poll results reveal more than half of Hadleigh shoppers are against Sunday trading

Hadleigh High Street. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Hadleigh High Street. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Archant

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.

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