A £450,000 scheme to make a dangerous crossroads safer has been unanimously approved by the national park authority after calls for a roundabout were rejected.
The application from Hampshire County Council was to stagger a section of highway
at Ipley crossroads near Beaulieu.
The area has been highlighted as an accident hotspot, with two fatalities and 11 serious-injury accidents reported between January 2011 and August 2019.
The installation of a new T-junction by HCC is designed to improve the safety of the road by forcing traffic to slow down and give way.
NPA case officer Natalie Walter told the planning committee meeting: “There is a strong and urgent need for the proposed development due to the personal injury records for the junction and a decline in the effectiveness of previously implemented measures.
“Alternative solutions have been reviewed and assessed and it has been concluded that the proposed scheme would address the need whilst having the lowest ecological and landscape impact in this sensitive location.”
The application received 24 letters of support and has the backing of Beaulieu Parish Council.
Four letters of objection were also received, including Denny Lodge Parish Council which said it preferred a roundabout.
Supporting the plans, NPA member Richard Taylor said: “As a regular cyclist, I
have to say a staggered junction is by far the best solution – a roundabout is a nightmare as cyclist.
“And I think the volume of support from the cycling community shows they hold that view. Let’s get it built.”
George Bisson added: “It’s not the road that is dangerous, it is the drivers.
“Having said that, if they can’t obey the very clear existing signs then, obviously, we do need to do something else.
“I think it is the best we can have at the moment.”
Sue Bennison said it was “a great pity” that part of the Forest would be lost to tarmac.
But she added: “I think this is the only solution that will work and I hope this will stop future accidents.”
The scheme involves HCC agreeing with the verderers a land swap elsewhere to ensure the New Forest does not lose any grazing.