BUSINESS leaders from the Taunton area have been told about the work of the body charged with overseeing strategic growth in the region.

Steve Hindley, chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, addressed guests at an event organised by Midas Group at the Museum of Somerset.

Mr Hindley, also chairman of Midas, said that in contrast to the large staff and massive budget of the South West Regional Development Agency, a forerunner of the LEP, the new organisation had four staff and £500,000 to spend.

He said the organisation aimed to set the right strategy for public and private sector organisations and would negotiate and bid for government funding for projects, including improving rail and road infrastructure to and through the region.

On dualling the A303, he said: “I refuse to retire until that’s built and finished.”

He added: “The Government has admitted we have been grossly underfunded for the last 30 years.”

He later told the County Gazette that Taunton should grasp the opportunities offered by the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station development but was unable to give any further details about how the LEP viewed Taunton’s place in the region’s development.

He also called on local businesses and organisations to come forward with ideas the LEP could take to government.