A PRIVATE company could be called in to run Colchester’s market in a bid to save time and money.

As part of its waste and zones futures business case, Colchester Council is exploring options to both improve the market and make it more cost effective.

One option could see an expert firm brought in to manage the Friday and Saturday markets, which take place in Colchester High Street.

According to a report examined by the council’s scrutiny committee, the current system takes up around 70 hours of zone warden time which could be used elsewhere if a private company were to take over the logistics, set up and take down of the market.

Dennis Willetts (Con, Lexden and Braiswick) raised concerns over the deteriorating state of the market’s infrastructure at a meeting of Colchester Council’s cabinet.

He said in its existing state, the market is “shabby and a poor advert for the borough”.

“When we were shown the proposals for the market we were told it would be made of hardwearing pagodas,” he said.

“We now seem to have a set of gazebos with tatty plastic around them, flying in the wind as traffic goes past.

“They are starting to degenerate and they do nothing for the ambiance of the town centre - in fact they do worse than that. I urge the council to do something about this.

“We want to encourage people to come to the town and we do not want the market to look like an eyesore.”

Waste, sustainability and infrastructure boss Martin Goss said the condition of the market was already being looked into as part of the business case review.

He said: “We are listening to views of traders are looking at ways we may or may not deliver the market in the future.

“There are professional organisations out there which do this. I assure you it is being looked at.

“We are going out to explore the market and find out what other organisations have got to say and we will publish more information shortly.”