Belfast City Council has abandoned plans to relax Sunday Trading regulations in the city.

The council had proposed designating the city with Resort Status, meaning stores above 3,000sq ft would be able to open all day for 18 Sundays per year.

Welcoming the decision, Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “Retail NI welcomes the comprehensive vote by Belfast City councillors to drop plans to relax Sunday trading across the city. This would have given a further unfair competitive advantage to large supermarkets and disadvantaged local small shops, whose Sunday morning trade is vital for their survival.

“Furthermore this vote puts down an important marker to the other 10 local councils not to consider relaxing Sunday trading through the backdoor of Resort Status.”

In Northern Ireland large shops can only open currently from 1pm until 6pm on Sunday whereas smaller shops can open all day.