A TOP Minister has praised the County Gazette's efforts to #talkup Taunton.

Gavin Williamson called our campaign to highlight the positive things taking place in our county town.

"I applaud the initiative - it's fantastic," said Mr Williamson during a visit to the UK Hydrographic Office on Friday.

"It's shows real pride people have for Taunton and the opportunities it has.

"We have got to be enthusiastic about the place.

"The reason the UKHO is here is because Taunton is a great place to be based - not just because of the great communications it has, but also the skills of the people in the local area. It can recruit brilliant people locally and from other localities.

"For the Gazette to have such a campaign is incredibly important and we should all take a real degree of pride in Taunton.

"I hope it's not my last time in Taunton and hope I'll be welcomed again."

Mr Williamson, who said he has been to Taunton and Somerset on a number of occasions, added: "Taunton is a great place to visit and to bring up families. It's a charming and beautiful place.

"We should celebrate the brilliant place Taunton is and that so much investment is coming into Taunton."

He was surprised to be told about comments from MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who represents neighbouring Bridgwater and West Somerset, comparing Taunton to Aleppo.

"It's not even slightly a bit like Aleppo," added Mr Williamson.

"I want to come back to Taunton again and would like to see round the archives at the UKHO. I'll try and make sure I come back again."