The supermarkets in Assen are not allowed to open on Sunday morning, nor close later in the evening. That was decided tonight at the city council. However, a proposal from D66 for a Grab & Go is being worked out in more detail: quickly score a ready-made sandwich or a meal and then leave.
Grab & Go is a to-go concept, as the City Spar in Assen already has, where something ready-made can be picked up from the display case for the road. In Assen it would then only concern the City Spar in the center of the city.
D66 initiator Adinda Bornkamp is disappointed with this decision. She aimed for long shopping hours on Sundays for the Drenthe capital, so open from 06:00 in the morning until 22:00 in the evening, for anyone who wants it. But she ran into a closed door, twice.
“I had hoped that we would have more ambition as a provincial capital. But we listened to the council again tonight and therefore changed the proposal for full Sunday opening for supermarkets. We hope to take a first step with this Grab & Go concept. for the future,” said party leader Bornkamp.
City Spar happy
Entrepreneur Nico van Dijk, owner of the City Spar on Noordersingel, is happy with the result so far. He watched from the public gallery. He has been fighting for ages to open his convenience store in the center early on Sunday morning, as in corona times, but also before when he started in Assen. He tried to stretch the rules a bit.
But he was suddenly reprimanded by the municipality for violating the law. In Assen, shops are only allowed to open on Sundays from 12:00 to 18:00. Van Dijk finds that bizarre, and started a signature campaign. Especially since supermarkets in surrounding places are allowed to open on Sunday morning.
No decision yet
After the first spokesperson of the parties, it soon became clear tonight that there is no council majority in Assen for a substantial expansion of the Sunday opening for supermarkets only. A few months ago, D66 initially even wanted to give all shopkeepers that freedom. This was already hard on the stomach at the time. For some parties, Sunday is sacred, others would like to give shop employees a rest.
When supermarkets alone proved insufficient support tonight, Adinda Bornkamp decided to further strip down the D66 initiative proposal for the wider Sunday opening to only Grab & Go shops. In Assen that is the City Spar.
Shoe shop with display case?
But for the longer Grab & Go opening on Sundays, there is not yet a final green light. A council majority thinks the concept is still ‘much too vaguely described’ and wants to see a further elaboration first. For example, the parties want to prevent a shoe store from suddenly setting up a display case from which something ready-made can be sold.
Because of this lack of clarity, Mayor Marco Out decided to postpone the final vote to the decisive council meeting in December. In the meantime, D66 has to add ‘an A-4’ to her hastily adjusted initiative proposal, what exactly she means by Grab & Go and what the exact frameworks are. “So that it is clear to everyone what exactly it means, and it can also be legally enforced.”
Seniors lead the way
Nevertheless, the concept received support from an unexpected quarter. Foreman Clemens Otto of 50PLUS was familiar with to-go. “Gas stations have been doing this for years. You can pick up a sandwich, a salad or a cup of coffee there 24 hours a day for years. If they can do it, why don’t we do that in the city center,” says Otto, who works with 50PLUS is happy to contribute to the idea.
VVD and city party PLOP are also pleased with the clear direction this proposal is now taking. “It is now a subject that gives meaning to Assen. We want to emphasize that we should not rush through the proposal,” says party chairman Henk Santing. “It shouldn’t be a hasty decision.”
On December 22, the Asser city council will vote whether it will definitively cooperate in a longer Sunday opening for Grab & Go stores only, which so far only includes the Spar City. ChristenUnie and CDA are in any case against.