Garden Centre Association launches Easter opening petition

Members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) are launching a petition for the Easter trading laws to be relaxed and are asking garden centres to back the campaign.

The GCA has put together a petition for garden centres and their customers to sign in support of centres being able to trade on Easter Sunday.

GCA chairman Peter Burks said: "We have spoken to many of our members and the majority feel strongly that they should be able to open fully on Easter Sunday.

"Traditionally the Easter weekend is one of the busiest gardening weekends of the year. Easter Sunday trading could be worth 25 per cent of the total sales for the Easter week.

"Most customers don’t realise that by law retailers with 3,000 square feet of selling space cannot open on Easter Sunday and are upset that they can’t pick up essential gardening supplies. We want to change this and ensure gardeners can have four days of uninterrupted sowing and planting."

Under the 1994 Sunday Trading Act, retailers with 3,000 square feet of selling space cannot open on Easter Sunday.

The GCA is asking for members and other garden centres to sign the petition to help get this law overturned.

Burks added: "We have written an official petition, which is available for any garden centres to print out and fill with signatures. If you’d like a copy, please email hello@porcupinepr.co.uk.

"Once we have 100,000 signatures we will be taking the petition to the Houses of Parliament and hopefully they will carefully consider our argument."

Nearly every garden centre in the country is unable to open on Easter Day and the GCA says this law is costing the horticultural industry at least £10million as the Easter weekend is traditionally during the peak gardening season.

Burks added: "Our members want to be able to serve their customers. It is silly that a garden centre’s restaurant can be open on Easter Sunday but no other sales can be made.

"It is an age old debate that the industry has been embroiled in every year since 1994 and I really wanted to help move this along."

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