A HIGH LEVEL public meeting will be held after repeated calls for action to make the Hunters Lodge ‘death trap’ junction near Lyme Regis safer.
People are being urged to ‘vote with their feet’ by campaigner Joy Raymond on improvement plans by the Highways Agency which will be revealed at the meeting.
The notorious A35 junction, at the turning point with Lyme Road near the Hunters Lodge Inn, claimed the lives of two elderly holidaymakers on July 10 last year when their Corsa was in collision with a Renault van.
After the crash, David Parker, the owner of Sea Tree House, described the major road to Lyme Regis as a ‘death trap’.
The meeting also comes after a woman was taken to hospital suffering neck pain following a three-car crash at the junction on July 16.
The Highways Agency public meeting, due to be held from 6pm to 8pm at Axminster Guildhall on July 31, comes after more than 100 people packed into a meeting last September with Neil Parish, MP for Honiton and Tiverton, and the Uplyme and Axminster Parish councils.
More than £50,000 of funding was secured to improve the safety of the junction, with the Highways Agency securing £47,000 for a revised junction scheme with construction starting before April 2015.
A further £10,000 was secured to conduct a road traffic study assessing traffic behaviour and speed.
On June 16, the Highways Agency presented its improvement plan for the notorious junction at a closed meeting.
Now, people will be able to see the plan detailing improvements to the junction – including all the considered proposals and the rationale for the conclusions reached – at the meeting.
Miss Raymond, who owns guesthouse Hedgehog Corner, told The News: “I urge everyone who has concerns about the junction to vote with their feet, see what’s proposed for improvements and to be extremely vociferous in their views.
“This could be our one and only chance to make changes to the junction and, if 3,000 people turn up, that can only be a good thing.
“Even if we flood the guildhall with people, we will stand in the car park and go in one by one if that’s what it takes.
“Do this not just for us local residents, but for the area as a whole and for the thousands of visitors we have every year.
“Local residents are terrified of the junction, and visitors don’t know what a dangerous junction they’re coming to.
“In the summer there’s one crash a week. It’s a miracle more people haven’t lost their lives.”
MP Neil Parish said: “On June 16, I met with the town and parish councils affected by this junction where we received an update from the Highways Agency, who have agreed to my request for a public meeting on July 31 in Axminster.
"It will ensure that everyone can see these proposals and will be able to present their views.
“It is vital for there to be public confidence in the measures to tackle this blackspot.”
Gerald Manning, son of Pamela Manning who tragically lost her life in the Hunters Lodge crash last year, said anything that slows traffic at the junction is positive.
He added: “I’m not looking for any special treatment; I just want to see the junction made safer and think of it as something I can do in memory of my mum and others who died there.”