MORE than £50,000 of funding has been secured to improve the safety of the notorious Hunters Lodge junction on the A35.

The Highways Agency has secured £47,000 worth of funding for a revised scheme for the junction, with construction starting before April 2015.

A further £10,000 is available to conduct a road traffic study to look at traffic behaviour and speed.

Devon County Council will also assess the performance of Lyme Road to consider improvements that could be made to the approaches to the junction.

There have been long-running concerns regarding the junction following multiple crashes at the site, with two elderly holidaymakers dying in a collision there last July.

A public meeting was hosted by Neil Parish MP at Axminster Guildhall, where residents voiced their concerns about the junction. Mr Parish, MP for Honiton and Tiverton, said: “There have long been concerns around this accident blackspot, particularly after the tragic events of July last year which claimed two lives.

“The fact that there was another accident on Saturday, December 28, only reinforces our case for safety improvements at this junction.

“I met with the Highways Agency in Exeter on Monday, December 9, to discuss the A35 Hunter’s Lodge junction.

“At this meeting I had a very positive conversation with Mr Julian Strong, asset development team leader.

“I can report from this meeting that the Highways Agency has secured some £47,000 to progress a revised scheme for the junction, with construction starting before April 2015, and a further £10,000 to undertake a study that will look at traffic behaviour and speed.

“During the meeting I pressed the Highways Agency to provide assurances that the money would not just be spent on consultants and planning but on real concrete improvements.

“I also made the point that there needs to be a speed camera on the A35.

“Mr Strong assured me every effort would be made to have a scheme outline available to present to stakeholders by the end of February 2014.

“He will be writing to me again at the end of this month with a further update on the Highways Agency's progress.”

The news of the funding was welcomed by local campaigners and Penny Shutts, the daughter of Paula Townsend, who died following the crash in July.

Joy Raymond, from Hedgehog Guest Accommodation, said: “This is very good news and I look forward to seeing the report at the end of February.

“We have been speaking to the families of the two women who lost their lives, and Penny Shutts said she was pleased and that it was good to see residents trying hard to make the junction safer.”