MARKET traders want a “street food quarter” in Colchester.

Stalls selling food in the town centre are not grouped together and do not have permission to have tables and chairs.

Street food chefs want Colchester Council, which designates pitches, to turn Culver Street West into a food quarter.

Ken Flatt, who runs a curry stall, said: “I’ve been here for six years. We’ve been on our own for a long time.

“It would be better for all the food stalls to be together.

“The key is to have variety – having three burger stalls in a rowwould be bad for business.”

Mr Flatt wants the council to allow stallholders to put out a small number of tables and chairs for customers.

Sue and Alex Forbes, who run the Free Ranger, a specialist burger and hot dog stand, said: “The council should have us all together.

“It makes such a difference – you just have to look at how it’s done in London.

“If you had half a dozen stalls here in their own gazebos, it would start to turn into a real food area.

“Add some seating into that and I think we’d be going in the right direction.”

Sarah James and Nick Tolhurst’s stall, Bellota, is new to Colchester.

The pair travel to food festivals around the country, as well as to “food streets” in London.

Miss James said: “Food streets would work here.

“It would mean extra competition, but at least we would know everyone in the area would be looking to eat.

“It works in London – there’s no reason why it couldn’t work here.”

Holly Cork, who runs Traditional Pie and Mash, said: “It would be a good thing for us.

“It would appeal to people more if there was a type of food quarter.

“They would know where to go and if there were more stalls in one place, there would be more footfall and it would definitely create an atmosphere.”

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “Residents and visitors will have seen a growth in the number of food stalls in Colchester market and Colchester Council is keen to support customer demand.”