Rayleigh’s weekly market could be moved to the town’s High Street in a bid to bolster flagging business.

Rayleigh Town Council has just signed a deal with Rochford Council to take over management of the market from Friday.

Bosses said they believed the switch was essential to boosting passing trade for stall owners.

The market has been based in the car park by the Civic Centre, in Hockley Road, every Wednesday morning for more than 30 years.

Margaret Spencer, chairwoman of the town council, said: “Like many street markets, Rayleigh’s has declined in recent years and it has not helped being in a car park off the main road.

“The town council has been asking for the market to be relocated to the High Street for many years. We are pleased we have an opportunity to try to make this happen.

“In the meantime, we will enable the current market to continue to operate in the car park.”

The Wednesday market enjoyed booming business with its mixture of flower, pet food, grocery and butchery stalls during the Eighties and Nineties.

However, over the last decade, the number of customers has dropped.

Rochford District Council decided to give up control of the market last year and appealed for new organisers to come forward.

The town council is currently paying £262 a month to keep the market where it is, but the deal will expire in six months.

Councillors are in negotiations with Essex County Council to move the stalls to the taxi rank in the High Street. A decision will be made by the end of the summer.

Janet Addams, 63, of Queens Road, Rayleigh, has been shopping at the market for eight years.

She said: “I think it’s a good idea. It’s nice where it is and it’s out of the way, so that’s helpful if you want to park nearby.

“But it’s not exactly somewhere you’d stumble across if you weren’t familiar with it. I’d hate to see it go, so if moving it to the High Street would help, I’d support that.”