Move to new market operator hits a snag

IPSWICH market's transfer to a new operator has been delayed after it was discovered that a meeting called to approve the move was not constitutional.

IPSWICH market's transfer to a new operator has been delayed after it was discovered that a meeting called to approve the move was not constitutional.

The meeting will now have to be reconvened later this week - meaning the new operator will not be able to start until the beginning of next month.

The council has set up a new executive procurement committee which met for the first time last Monday to consider who should take over the market.

A decision was made, but council leader Liz Harsant had been unable to attend at the last minute and asked fellow Conservative councillor Judy Terry to substitute for her.

According to the constitution of the committee, however, substitutes were not allowed and the meeting will have to reconvene.

Mrs Harsant said: “It's my fault, I'm afraid. My grandson was rushed to hospital and I asked Judy to step in for me.

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“It was only when the opposition pointed out in the meeting that substitutes were not allowed that we realised the problem. The issue will now be decided later this week.

“I don't think it has delayed things too much because the new operator would want to wait until early May before he took over anyway.”

Opposition leader David Ellesmere insisted the meeting should be re-run after the gaffe.

He said the delay meant the market traders' co-operative would continue to run it longer than had originally been planned.

He added: “Frankly, if I ran a brewery I wouldn't trust this lot to organise a social event there!”

The new market operator will have a contract to run the market for five years and will be expected to encourage its expansion along Lloyd's Avenue, the top of Princes Street, and along Westgate Street.

Are you happy with the market offering in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.