AN aerial cable car could be the answer to Colchester's congestion nightmare.

Veteran politician Anne Turrell said Colchester could be the first town in the country to introduce the radical project.

Essex county councillor Mrs Turrell, who was previously the leader of Colchester Council, said it was time to look "outside the box" to find an answer to the queues of traffic clogging up the town's roads.

She said cable car centres could be created at four points on the outskirts of town - ideally at Park and Ride parks.

The cable cars, carrying six to eight people each, would travel slowly and continuously into the town centre allowing passengers to alight at cable car stations along the route.

Structures would need to be built to carry the cars above the traffic and over the North Colchester railway station bridge.

Mrs Turrell said she realised she would come in for criticism but said she hoped her suggestions would trigger the debate on alternative ways of tackling the problem.

She said: "Congestion in Colchester is so bad. If you build more roads, they just get filled up with more cars.

"We can't have an underground system, it is simply too expensive, so what about something above ground?

"Ideally we would have four park and rides in total - in addition to the one in the north, we would have one at Mersea, one at Stanway and one to the east at the university.

"Cable cars could run from these alongside the park and ride.

"They would move continuously and people could get off at the cable car stations along the route into town.

"We need to do something to alleviate congestion which is only going to get worse.

"If we were the first in the country to introduce it, it would also be a tourist attraction."

Mrs Turrell said she first mooted the idea to the local development framework ten years ago.

She added she would ask for radical suggestions to be included in the council's current core strategy - the principles on which the borough's local plan are based.

The draft local plan is due to go out for consultation next year and be adopted in 2017.

Mrs Turrell said the scheme - which would cost milions of pounds - could be financed by an entrepreneur who wanted to use Colchester's sky scheme as an example to other towns.

In return, they could keep the fees paid by passengers.

Mrs Turrell accepted the structures needed to carry the cable cars could be unsightly in Britain's oldest town.

She said: "Of course, this is an issue. The design would have to be excellent."

She added: "I am just throwing something into the mix. It is the principle I want to promote rather than this specific scheme.

"If we don't do something on congestion, traffic will just come to a standstill."