A COMPULSORY purchase order could be needed to complete a long-awaited cycling route between Helensburgh and Dumbarton, a new report states.

Argyll and Bute Council would be required to approve the order at its June meeting if no deal is struck with landowners between Helensburgh and Cardross, according to a report to the authority’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee.

The latest information on the cycling route will be discussed by the area committee at the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre on March 21.

The also reveals that construction of a 285-metre section of the path, through Cardross, has now been put back until summer – eight months after it was due to start.

READ MORE: Cycle path delay 'an embarrassment', senior councillor admits

The report, by executive director of development and infrastructure Pippa Milne, states: “Following provision of the updated drawings and land acquisition offers to relevant landowners for phase one (Cardross to Helensburgh), the council has been in active negotiations with landowners to seek to progress to a negotiated settlement to acquire the necessary land.

“To ensure the necessary time to progress land negotiations is available it is planned that the submission of a recommendation to this committee in relation to the need for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for phase one of the route will be made on June 20.

“Should this committee be minded to recommend the need for a CPO, the CPO will require to be submitted for approval by full council.”

The area committee is due to meet on Thursday, June 20, with the council holding its full meeting a week later.

READ MORE: Route approval 'paves way for next stage of cycle route'

The report continued: “In 2019/20 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 Cardross Playing Fields and Cardross Park. As previously reported to this committee, this work had been planned for October/November 2018.

“However, this timescale has now slipped to summer 2019. The delay is due to an inability to access the land required this financial year due to other works being undertaken by Network Rail.

“Meanwhile work is ongoing between the legal service and the landowner’s solicitor to finalise the legal agreement with the landowner.

“The strategic transportation team is working with the roads service to ensure that the section of the cycleway is delivered in 2019/20.”

The Cardross to Dumbarton part of the cycle path is also covered in Ms Milne’s report – and the public will soon be able to get involved in planning that section.

The document adds: “The contract for a design contractor to progress the design of phase 2, linking Ferry Road, Cardross to Dumbarton, has been tendered and awarded to WSP UK Ltd.

“This contract requires initial designs to be prepared for summer 2019 with detailed plans developed for spring 2020.

“A public consultation to support identification of the preferred route will be undertaken in late spring 2019.”

READ MORE: Call for 'urgent progress' on Helensburgh-Dumbarton cycle route

Councillor Ellen Morton, chair of the area committee, had previously labelled the delay in delivering the cycle path “an embarrassment” to the council.

Speaking at December’s environment, development and infrastructure committee, she said: “The money for it was allocated by Sarah Boyack [formerly Scotland’s transport minister, who ceased to hold the office in 2007 and has not been an MSP since 2016].

“We have now reached 18 years and still have not delivered the project.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for Councillor David Kinniburgh, Councillor Richard Trail and myself to attend Cardross Community Council as we are being slaughtered at every meeting over this.”