TRADERS in Accrington Town Centre have been urged open on Sundays and end the traditional Wednesday half-day closing.

Hyndburn Borough Council leader Peter Britcliffe said the completion of Accrington’s new market hall was an ideal opportunity to market the town as a ‘major shopping centre’.

Coun Britcliffe also called for fewer businesses to close before 5pm during the week, and to bring an end to half day closing on Wednesdays.

The request was given a positive response by some shoppers questioned by the Lancashire Telegraph, but businesses in the town said the idea was ‘unrealistic’.

However Coun Britcliffe said no one would be forced to join the scheme, and said it was simply an opportunity to attract more trade.

He said: “At the moment, shops don't open because ‘it’s quiet’ but people don’t come in because the shops are shut.

“If you go into Asda on a Sunday morning it’s jam packed and we should be seeing some of that in the town centres.

"If you get there at 3pm everything is shutting so some people just don't go.

"We have go to move into the 21st Century and cater for modern shoppers.”

However trader David Hilton at the Hourglass Emporium said: “People don’t shop seven days a week, especially in a recession.

"Independent stores are only going to sell a few odds and ends on a Sunday.

"It isn’t worth it.”

Colin Waddington at the The Coffee House cafe said: “It’s not realistic.

"Though we stay open Wednesday afternoons it’s very quiet.

"There would be little point in Sunday hours in the winter, because no one wants to browse.

"Trialling it in the summer might work, though.”

Michael Hughes at Wilson’s Fruit and Veg said: “For us it would be totally pointless because people will already have bought the vegetables for their Sunday dinner.

"Opening up for the odd person who forgot to buy mushrooms just isn't an option."

What shoppers said

Janet Chadburn, 62, who has just moved to Accrington from Hull, said: “If the shops opened on a Sunday it would give you something to do.

"I would definitely come in to have a look around.

"For a food shop you’d just go to Asda, but for a browse, why not go into the town centre?

"I think it would work.”

Imogen Barrett, 64 from Accrington, said: “I love Sunday shopping and maybe that’s why I don’t shop in Accrington very much.

"I would definitely be a more regular visitor if they sorted that out.”

Kelly Taylor, 28, from Accrington, said: “People work Monday to Friday, it doesn’t make much sensing closing on one of the days that people have off.

"It means the whole family could come in to shop together instead of one person running around like a headless chicken getting the shopping in through the week.”

Andrew Goldsmith, 47, from Baxenden, said: “I shop elsewhere on a Sunday and I’d be unlikely to change but it does seem strange that the shops here are shut.

"There’s free parking in Hyndburn as well so if they opened on Sundays they’d have the complete package.”