The Asda store in Portadown is to stay open slightly longer this year on July 1 - the traditional date for the Edenderry bonfire - after talks between the company and the bonfire committee.
A spokesperson for Asda confirmed that the store will close at 9pm with the petrol station closing at 6pm. The bonfire is usually lit around 11pm. Normal trading hours will resume on July 2.
In these financially constrained times it is important that business concerns, both local and national, maximise the opportunities availableRegenerate spokesperson
The talks were facilitated by community group Regenerate at the request of the bonfire committee who were keen that the celebrations should impact as little as possible on the public and the town’s commercial life.
The committee also confirmed that a number of wardens will be on patrol on the night to ensure there is no anti-social behaviour.
Two years ago, Asda took the decision to close the 24-hour store early after health and safety worries over the proximity of the bonfire.
Neal Thornton, a member of Regenerate, said the meetings came about after a number of local people mentioned they were unhappy that Asda felt compelled to close.
Mr Thornton said the hope for future years would be that Asda could remain open for normal hours.
A spokesperson for Regenerate said, “In these financially constrained times it is important that business concerns, both local and national, maximise the opportunities available to trade if our town is to prosper.
“To this end we have been happy to engage with both Asda and the Edenderry bonfire committee providing both the reassurance required and help on the ground necessary to insure that our cultural traditions can be expressed and trading opportunities can continue unabated in the Edenderry area to the benefit of the community as a whole.”
A statement by Edenderry bonfire committee said, “We are proud of the heritage and tradition handed down to us by our forefathers and the role that Edenderry has played down the centuries.
“Whilst we strive to ensure that our culture and celebrations will survive for future generations we are also fully aware of the needs of the Edenderry and indeed wider community in today’s 24/7 world.”
The PUP also welcomed “the efforts being made ... to enable a move towards unrestricted trading on July 1”.