Drive to deregulate Sunday trade laws

LOCAL authorities want to see the relaxation of legal restrictions on Sunday trading, a new survey has revealed.

Research by property consultants Healey & Baker shows that nearly one third of councils favour increased deregulation of the law.

Some want to remove the restrictions altogether and are planning to encourage the trend towards full Sunday opening.

Paul Orchard-Lisle, senior partner at Healey & Baker, says: "We believe that local authorities, chambers of commerce, property owners and service providers need to develop a coherent policy."

The findings came from a postal survey of all local authorities in England and Wales, a field survey of 20 retail locations and telephone interviews with 24 top UK retailers.

More than 60 per cent of councils which responded did not have an official policy on Sunday trading, but some indicated that they were conducting a review of the practices in their area.

The researchers found more and more city centres opening, with Manchester, Bath, York and Canterbury among those which recorded significant increases in the number of shops doing business.