Rows over whether Jersey shops should open on a Sunday have raged for decades - and now with the island's politicians just days away from another potentially definitive vote, the battle lines have been drawn once again by a supermarket boss, and an anonymous resident of St. Saviour.
Calling himself 'Simon Jones,' he has written to all States Members opposing the deregulation plans, but without giving his real name as he says he is a government employee, so he is afraid of speaking out.
Meanwhile, Waitrose & Partners say the proposals for free Sunday trading will allow them to create 30 jobs across their three shops.
It all comes just days ahead of a debate on proposals from the Economic Development Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, to allow all shops to trade on Sundays.
Shops with a surface area of under 700sqm are currently the only ones allowed to trade on a Sunday, whilst large shops are only allowed to open in the run up to Christmas or on special occasions, if they obtain a permit from their parish.
Pictured: The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham.
Senator Farnham is proposing to introduce a ‘Restricted Hours Permit’ that will allow large shops to open between 10:00 and 16:00 on all ordinary Sundays, as well as Good Friday and Liberation Day, but not on Christmas or Boxing Day, even if those dates fall on a Sunday.
Costing £120, the permits would be available on an annual basis and expire on 31 December.
Waitrose & Partners have thrown their support behind the proposals arguing that Sunday trading proved “extremely popular” in the run up to Christmas and has also been well received in Guernsey, where it was introduced four years ago.
Director Damian Warman, Director of Waitrose & Partners Jersey Limited, also argued it would help create extra jobs across Waitrose’s three local shops.
Pictured: Waitrose said opening on Sundays would allow the creation of 30 jobs.
“We are fully supportive of Sunday trading and have been working closely with the States of Jersey and the Chamber of Commerce to prepare should it be introduced,” Mr Warman said.
“It would also allow us to create an additional 30 jobs across our Jersey shops and provide the opportunity for more flexible working hours for our Partners. As well as creating new jobs, Sunday trading will help us further reduce food waste and give our customers greater choice about when they would like to shop.”
The Chamber of Commerce has also shown support for the proposals. CEO, Murray Norton said that while members are split on the issue – “We have members that are interested in the deregulation and other members who are not in favour of opening on a Sunday or who would not open” – the Chamber believes shopkeepers should have the right to decide when and how they should open.
Pictured: Murray Norton, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Norton said there are many reasons some shops want to be open on a Sunday. “Some see advantages for day trippers, for the footfall in town and in offering an alternative to online shopping.”
The Chamber CEO also said that Sunday trading could benefit those who have family commitments or work on Saturdays and can’t do their shopping.
“We support the freedom of choice of shop keepers, whether they wish to open or not. The decision should not be held back from them by the law. Businesses are in the prime position to decide if it’s viable for them to open or not.
“The decision is not whether it is right or not to open, whether they should or not. The question is should shop keepers have the right to open if they want to. Our position is: yes, we think so.”
Pictured: The Chamber believes shops should be able to decide whether to open or not.
However, concerns have been raised over the impact Sunday trading could have on islanders who live near large shops. A man claiming to be a St. Saviour resident, and using the pseudonym 'Simon Jones,' says his family are disturbed by early morning delivery lorries, which often start from 06:00, as well as the noise from trollies, delivery drivers, bin lorries, slamming doors, “crying babies and screeching children” from the car park and the “diesel pollution” created by the traffic around the shop.
“Sundays really is our family day of rest,” he continued. “The silence is golden, the air is clean and it’s the one day of the week our young children can play outside without breathing in the diesel and petrol fumes coming over the wall from the busy car park next door.”
He argued that the only people that would benefit from Sunday trading would be the shareholders that own large shops,” not the “hundreds of hard working local families that live next to or nearby these badly placed neighbours” or “the hardworking staff that will be gently pressurised to work over 7 days instead of 6.”
The debate is scheduled to take place during the next States sitting on Tuesday (22 October).
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