Shops in Oakham set to open on a Sunday in trial to boost business

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SHOPS in Oakham are being urged to open on a Sunday as part of a trial to boost business.

The idea was raised earlier this year at an Oakham Town Partnership meeting and the group asked businesses for their views.

The trial received a positive response from a number of traders. Now a date has been set for September 9 to give Sunday opening a try and shops are being urged to back it. Other attractions will also be going on through the day.

At present very few shops in the town open on Sundays and shoppers tend to only stay for a short time.

By encouraging Sunday opening and providing entertainment the partnership hopes to attract more people and keep them in town for longer.

If the venture proves successful, the day could become a regular event.

The partnership is a body made up of representatives from the community, voluntary sector, businesses and councils who have the future viability of the town.

Alf Dewis, chairman of Oakham Town Partnership, said: “Rutland Water attracts more than one million people each year of which only about 100,000 visit Oakham. With the help of the traders in the town, we hope to substantially increase that number. That can only assist local enterprises during the present deep recession.

“We see Oakham not just as a place to shop but also as a place where both local people and visitors enjoy being in a town that provides a rich mix of activities including entertainment as well as shopping.

“We hope that the people of Oakham will support us, as they have in the past, and turn out on the day.

“The idea of the trial day gained a positive response from about 12 shops when we held meetings earlier this year and we now hope others will join in to promote the town to visitors on Sunday.”

As well as shops opening, a host of other events are set to take place on the day.

A car boot sale will be held in Burley Road car park at 9am, followed by a programme of

summer fun in Cutts Close at midday. The event will feature Zorbing, Zumba, a Rutland

Water rescue boat, football penalty shoot-out, volleyball, bike workshop and stalls.

Live music will be provided by local band Latest Gossip and children will be able to build sandcastles on a sandy beach. There will also be a barbecue supplied by Rutland Lions and ice creams.

The event is set to end at 4.30pm.

Oakham Town Partnership was recently unsuccessful, in association with Uppingham Town Partnership, in applying for £84,000 of Government funding through the Mary Portas bid to improve the two towns.