IN a week where Brexit has dominated all it was a breath of fresh air to get out among our local businesses, that are the lifeblood of the area.

I had an inspiring visit to the new eco-friendly HQ of flagship business, the UK Hydrographic Office, due to open in January, on time and well in budget. This investment sets the business on course for decades ahead, building on its expertise in the marine data field.

I am working at Government level to help secure a geospatial hub focusing on the expertise of the UKHO in Taunton as one of the new Geospatial Commission’s 6 proposed Geospatial Hubs.

Developing an associated Innovation Centre (similar to the nuclear centre linked to Hinkley C) will further consolidate Taunton as a leader in developing the ‘Blue Economy’ linking into the wider SW Region’s marine cluster.

On a smaller scale but no less important is the ambition demonstrated by Braziers, a coffee roasting business in Wellington. Specialist coffee roasters, their trade is booming and in addition to their own café they have recently taken over the Brewhouse café with a restaurant on stream.

Similarly a recent visit to the Organic Herb Trading Company in Milverton revealed another growing business, importing herbs and spices, employing more than 50 people and expanding.

There are many other successful and diverse businesses in Wellington and Taunton which are much treasured as online voting has highlighted in my Best of the High Street Awards.

People value the personal service they offer. Well done to all who were nominated and all the winners: the Emporium, Sporting Duchess, The Mount Hair Salon, Paws & Claws and Tim Potter the butchers in Wellington and Miles Tea shop and café and the Bank Restaurant in Taunton. Do support all our local shops as you do your Christmas shopping - I certainly am.

By the way, so pleased the County Gazette is pro-actively calling for the Marines to remain in Taunton. I continue to work on this at top Government level and at local level working together as a team including with Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council, which is the most effective way forward.


MP for Taunton Deane