THE cycle path linking Helensburgh to Dumbarton is to gain almost another 300m next month.

But councillors heard last Thursday that more than £2m towards the project has still to be sourced if the path is to be complete by its 2023 target date.

A report for that morning’s Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee meeting confirms that work is due to start on a 285m stretch from Cardross station to Geilston Burn in October.

Once complete, more than 1km of the route within the village will have been built – but full design drawings for the path have been delayed until next week.

Argyll and Bute Council’s executive director of development and infrastructure, Pippa Milne, said in her report: “The route linking the edge of Helensburgh at Hermitage Academy/Waitrose to Cardross Station has a total length of 5.2km, of which a total of 1.6km has been constructed.

“Within Cardross, a 785m section linking Cardross Railway Station to Ferry Road, Cardross was constructed in 2015/16. This section is well used by local residents for leisure purposes.

“In 2018/19 it is planned to construct a 285m section of the route within Cardross from Cardross Station to the Geilston Burn.

“This section will route via Geilston Park [unadopted road], Cardross Playing Fields and Cardross Park. This work is included within the Roads Service works programme to start in October 2018.

“The delivery of full design drawings from the Roads Design Service for some sections of Phase 1 have been delayed until September 28.

“This is due to unplanned staff absence and resource availability. The Roads Design Senior Engineer is actively managing the resources available to ensure the designs are completed by the revised delivery date.

“The delay to completion of the drawings has delayed providing final offers to landowners. To ensure the necessary time to progress land negotiations is available it is planned to defer the submission of a recommendation in relation to the need for a Compulsory Purchase Order to this committee to June 20, 2019.”

The report adds that of the estimated £2.3m future cost of the path, only £200,000 has definitely been secured to date with a provisional £100,000 added from SUSTRANS.

More than £500,000 has been spent on the parts of the path which are complete.

Ms Milne’s report added: “At the time of writing a total of £200,000 committed funding is available to the project.

“This consists of £50,000 Section 75 monies, £100,000 committed 2018/19 funding from SPT and £50,000 committed 2018/19 SUSTRANS design funding for phase 2.

“In addition, a 2018/19 funding applications submitted to SUSTRANS for £100,000 towards land purchase and construction costs has been provisionally awarded subject to final agreement of the detailed design.”

In relation to the future cost, it said: “It is proposed funding will be sought from external funding partners to cover these costs with the objective of completing the route by 2023.”

The report ends with the stark warning: “There is a reputational risk to the council if the project is not completed within a reasonable timeframe.”