Media release - issued 08 Dec 2020

Leader backs government moves to extend shop opening hours

The Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, Councillor David Clifford, has welcomed government plans to allow shops in England to stay open for up to 24 hours a day in the run-up to Christmas and into January.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made the announcement on Tuesday. It allows local authorities to temporarily waive the rules restricting retail opening hours between Monday and Saturday.  

After months of restrictions and two national lockdowns, the hope is that the relaxation of the rules will provide a timely boost for business in the run up to their busiest time of the year. 

It is thought that with extended opening hours there will be less queues and shoppers will find it easier to socially distance.  

The Housing Secretary also said that shops and supermarkets should also be given more leeway with stock delivery times, so that roads are less busy during the day. 

Councillor Clifford said: "I welcome the news that businesses will be able to extend their opening hours for the next couple of months and we will continue working closely with our local retailers to ensure people can continue to shop safely and for longer. 

"It's been a really tough year for businesses in our towns, and any helping hand we can give them we should do so. We've already given out millions in rate relief and grants and want to make sure businesses can get the financial and practical help they need as soon as possible. We are also campaigning to get people to shop locally." 

The council is most unlikely to have imposed planning conditions on retail premises restricting shop opening hours and any restrictions that do apply are usually under other legislation, such as Sunday trading, or as a result of premises licensing, for example of off-licences. Any businesses that think they may be subject to a planning restriction on opening hours should contact the planning team for advice on 01252 398788 or email plan@rushmoor.gov.uk 

So far this year, the council has given out more than £15.3 million in small business rate relief and retail, hospitality and leisure grants.  

Another round of grants has also just opened for businesses that are subject to restrictions or closure, as well as grants for businesses that are open but affected by the Tier 2 restrictions. For more information, please go to our Business grants available during coronavirus page. 

With many town centre businesses in Aldershot and Farnborough re-opening this week the council has launched a new campaign to encourage residents to shop locally this Christmas, with businesses offering click and collect and home delivery options, if shoppers don't want to venture out.

The council is also offering free parking in most of its town centre car parks in the three Sundays before Christmas in Aldershot, North Camp and Farnborough.

 
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