THE Mayor of Worcester has attacked proposals to relax Sunday shop trading laws - calling it "very disappointing".

Councillor Roger Knight has revealed his opposition to the Government bid to get retailers open all day, saying Worcester should not agree to it.

The city's first citizen says his firm view is that it should "remain a special day", suggesting England is at risk of losing its traditions.

Your Worcester News can also reveal how church leaders in the city are backing him up, saying it causes "many Christians great concern".

The intervention follows George's Osborne's summer Budget last week in which he announced plans to rip up Sunday trading laws for the first time in a generation.

The end decision has been left to councils to decide after having talks with shops and business leaders.

Councillor Knight's comments differs from the city's leader, Councillor Simon Geraghty, who revealed last week how he feared Worcester getting left behind rival destinations like Birmingham, Cheltenham and Bristol.

Councillor Knight said: "I find it very disappointing - if we do this it will make Sundays the same as every other day.

"If the hours were relaxed, it wouldn't be a unique day of the week any more.

"I think Sunday is a special day, it's not like Saturdays and we should keep it that way. "It might work elsewhere but I just don't think it's good for us in England."

The Rt Rev Graham Usher, who is the Bishop of Dudley and assistant Bishop in Worcester, said he agreed.

"It causes myself and many Christians great concern," he said.

"It has negative consequences on the physical and mental health of all of us as well as our family relationships.

"Jesus often spoke about the Sabbath as a time of re-creation and sharing together and these proposed changes will further erode this.

"There is only so much money that people have and therefore I don’t believe the economic argument stands up.

"How much as a society are we driven by consumerism rather than by the whole person and valuing what we have."

But we understand Worcester's big retailers are lining up to get behind the change.

Adrian Field, from Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID), which represents shops and other city centre businesses, said: "I had a 'major retailers' group meeting yesterday and asked them how footfall was on Sundays - one said they have to kick people out at the end of the day, it was that good.

"Sundays are different now - the days of people just going to church, having a Sunday roast and playing parlour games, those days are gone.

"We have a lot of sport on Sundays now, rugby finals are on Sundays, the Grand Prix is too.

"Convenience wise, things are different, more parents work now than 30 years ago.

"But it's about getting that balance - it will work for some, not for others, what I'd like is for the city council to do a consultation among businesses and the public so we can see what people think."

Councillor Geraghty has already confirmed the council wants talks over the policy, saying he is open minded as he does not want Worcester to fall behind other cities and towns.

At the moment all shops larger than 3,000 square feet are restricted to six hours trading on Sundays.