JEREMY Browne believes there is a “great spirit of optimism” on the Somerset Levels, which are continuing to recover from a winter of damaging floods.

The Taunton Deane MP says large numbers of visitors are once again being attracted to the area, reaffirming it is well and truly open for business.

Speaking on a visit to the Willows and Wetlands Centre in Stoke St Gregory, Mr Browne said: “The flooding at the beginning of the year had a devastating impact on communities on the Somerset Levels.

“Businesses lost money, farmers faced an impossible situation, children struggled to get to school and residents had difficulty travelling to work.

“It will take time to get over the floods but there is a great spirit of optimism on the Somerset Levels. The area is definitely open for business and keen to attract back the many visitors who enjoy the unique local environment.”

The centre held an Environment Agency drop-in surgery last Thursday (April 24), with villagers able to discuss issues including flood recovery, dredging and future flood resilience.

It is a key tourist attraction on the Levels, featuring a museum, willow craft shop and work of photographers and artists.

Mr Browne added: “The Willow and Wetlands Centre is thriving and I hope people from across our area will take the opportunity to enjoy visiting the Somerset Levels and help the communities there to recover from the trauma of the flooding.”