PLANS to improve a notorious accident blackspot in the Hampshire countryside are likely to be approved next week.

Members of the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) are being urged to support proposals to turn Ipley Crossroads into a staggered junction.

Over the past 20 years the junction has been the scene of more than 50 injury accidents, including two fatalities.

A report to NPA members says: "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 impact of previous casualty reduction schemes."

Plans to cut the crash risk at the junction have been submitted by Hampshire County Council.

If the scheme is given the go-ahead a new section of the C97 Lyndhurst to Ipley route will be built to create a T-junction 50 metres south of the current crossroads, with the redundant section of road returning to open forest.

The NPA report says: "The C97 has 'Stop' markings at the junction.

"However, the open nature of the crossroads has resulted in many drivers ignoring the road safety at this junction and driving straight over the C63 Beaulieu Road without giving way.

"A number of casualty reduction schemes have been implemented at the site, including increased signage, road markings and rumble strips.

"These measures were installed in 1993, 2008, 2012 and 2017 with additional improvements in 2018 and 2019.

"However, following an initial phase of success, the impact of these is declining."

As reported in the Daily Echo, Mark Brummell, 53, of Southampton, was killed in an accident with a Renault Megane in 2012. Four years later fellow cyclist Kieran Dix, 36, of Eastleigh, was fatally injured in a collision with a Vauxhall Zafira.

Four years ago the junction was named as one of the worst in the country for accidents involving bikes.

The latest serious accident occurred a year ago. Dave Bensley was riding through the Forest with fellow members of Southampton Cycling and Touring Club (STC) when he suffered neck and leg injuries.

After one of the crashes a white "ghost bike" was left at the scene in a bid to encourage drivers to take more care.

The NPA report says the proposed new junction's impact on the surrounding landscape would be similar to that of the current roads.

It adds: "The scheme proposes a solution which will have the least impact on the landscape while addressing the need for improved safety."