UK news Cambridge shops say new rule to bring in more shoppers is 'useless' last minute news
MetiNews.Com - The government encouraged councils to allow businesses to open late, but businesses said the idea was not economically viable for independent shops.
Breaking News ! Retailers across Cambridgeshire are allowed to stay open until 10pm in a move to support businesses bouncing back As part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, from April 12 non-essential retailers can extend their opening hours from 7am to 10pm to get more people shopping. Robert Jenrick, local government secretary, announced on March 25 that the government was encouraging councils to allow businesses to stay open late Monday to Saturday, which Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are both on board with. He said: “The government would like local planning authorities to continue to take a positive and flexible approach to planning enforcement action to support economic recovery and support social distancing while it remains in place.” He added: “In particular, to ensure a safe and successful reopening of the non-essential retail sector from Step 2 of the roadmap, the government wants to see retailers given the opportunity to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday, notwithstanding local planning restrictions on opening hours, where appropriate. CambridgeshireLive email updates: We bring the stories to you Signing up to the CambridgeshireLive newsletter means you'll receive our daily news email. It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds - simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms. Changed your mind? There's an 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out. “This will help to spread footfall, ease transport pressures and make shopping in a socially distanced way easier by giving shoppers greater flexibility to choose when they shop and avoid peak times.” He continued: “The government recognises that longer retail opening hours could have a temporary impact on local residents, but this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring there is a safe retail environment when non-essential shops reopen. The 10pm limitation should also mitigate the impact for local residents. There will be no change in licensing restrictions on retailers.” However, no Cambridge independent shops will be taking advantage of this. The only retailer confirmed to be taking advantage of the relaxation of rules is Primark. Pam Wesson, who runs vintage clothing shop Fantasia, said: “We’re not opening late. You have to pay people to be there until 10pm. Are they giving us money to pay people now? No. “That’s a losing proposition right now, in my opinion.” She added that other members of the Rose Quarter Association, the businesses in the ara around Rose Crescent, were in the same boat. “They also feel it’s kind of useless,” she said.
. “Why stay open til 10 if it’s already dead? “Primark is staying open but for small independents like me it’s laughable. Where are you going to get customers from 6-10pm?” Samantha Sinclair, who runs clothing shop Lilac Rose on Bridge Street, echoed the sentiment. She said: “For independents it’s hard, isn’t it? We’re not going to be open til 10pm. It’s hard enough to get them to work til 5pm! “I think that’s for the big boys. I don’t know if they’ll even come in the daylight hours.” However, there is some good news for retailers as footfall in Cambridge city is up week-on-week, as people enjoyed the sunny Bank Holiday weekend. Although non-essential shops remain closed until Monday, Cambridge residents are going out more and spending more in store. City centre footfall is up by 34.8 per cent in Cambridge, and 16.7 per cent in the Eastern region as a whole. The UK in general is just 13.2 per cent up. The area around Bridge Street, which is just north of Sidney Street, saw the biggest weekly increase of 53.7 per cent. This is shortly followed by Rose Crescent, which had an increase of 52.5 per cent, and then 44.4 per cent at King’s Parade. The data is for up to and including April, and so does not include Bank Holiday Monday.
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