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The Sunday Trading Act - Guidance for Business

The Sunday Trading Act came into effect at the end of August, 1994

It removed all restrictions on Sunday trading from all small shops (and certain larger ones) but permitted other large shops to open for six hours on Sundays.

In addition, it contains measures designed to protect shop workers from dismissal or discrimination for refusing to work on Sundays and allows local councils to control noise from early morning deliveries to large shops.

Sunday Trading - Hours & Conditions

The hours and conditions for Sunday trading are dependant upon the size of the shop and the articles or goods which are for sale.

The act allows all small shops and certain larger ones to open on Sundays.

You must remain closed on Easter Sunday and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday.

Small shops - sales area up to 280 square metres.

The Sunday Trading Act classes a 'small shop' as anything with an internal sales and display area below 280 square metres (approximately 3000 square feet).

This area does not include stockrooms, offices, toilets, etc. and is purely the area of the part of your premises where customers are served and any display area which you may have.

Only the internal area is measured so it maybe possible to have a large outdoor display area and still be classed as a small shop.

The hours of opening for Sunday Trading in small shops are unrestricted.

Large Shops - sales area greater than 280 square metres.

The Sunday Trading Act restricts the hours of opening for shops with a floor area above 280 square meters.

Large shops can only open for Sunday trading for a maximum period of six continuous hours between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm.

The Sunday Trading Act does allow certain large shops to open for longer than 6 continuous hours, but only if they are: -

  • Farm shops selling produce of the farm
  • Off licences
  • Motor and cycle spares and accessory shops
  • a registered pharmacy
  • shops at ports or airports
  • shops at motorway service areas
  • petrol stations
  • shops supplying food and goods for vessels or air craft
  • stands retailing goods at an exhibition


Noise and Disturbance


The Sunday Trading Act gives the Basildon Council powers to designate its area as what is called a "Loading control area".

The effect of this is to prohibit loading and unloading of goods at large shops before 9:00am on Sundays unless the occupier of the shop has been given consent to do so.

Consent would only be given after consulting with both the occupier of the shop and local residents.

Any consent given would impose reasonable conditions to prevent any excess of noise and disturbance.

For further information for businesses regarding The Sunday Trading Act, visit  Businesslink Website

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