FED-up motorists frequently caught up in traffic jams in Taunton will be hoping for an early Christmas present from the Transport Secretary.

Patrick McLoughlin visited last Thursday to gen up on the town’s road problems at Henlade, Junction 25 of the M5 and Toneway.

Rebecca Pow, who is standing for the Conservatives at the General Election in Taunton Deane, told him improvements are needed if a proposed employment site behind the park and ride at Henlade goes ahead.

Ms Pow said she was delighted Mr McLoughlin accepted her invitation to see inspect the “notorious traffic hotspot”.

She added: “He was able to see just how crucial it is that we improve the A358 at Henlade, in particular so that it can better handle the 26,700 vehicles a day using it.

“It is the busiest road in Somerset and the main link from the A303 to the motorway and is currently groaning under the weight of traffic using it.

“Improvements will reduce congestion, cut down air pollution here, improve safety and aid business.

“It’s vital to upgrade J25 on the M5 too to aid north-south flow of traffic and to link into the proposed new business park.

“If the roads are not upgraded the proposed new, much-needed business park will not become a reality.”

The Government will announce in its Autumn Statement whether a bid for £13.8million of funding for the scheme has been successful.

Mr McLoughlin said he was impressed by the case put by Ms Pow and councillors.

He added: “Infrastructure investment is a key part of our long-term economic plan and this scheme is a great example of how it can open up development and create jobs, allowing Taunton to grow and prosper.

“I understand that the South-West has missed out on funding in the past, but I know that the A358 is a crucial link in the region.”

There was good news for Taunton following Mr McLoughlin’s last visit to Taunton earlier this year – the Government agreed to provide £4.6million towards a development at Taunton Railway Station.