FUNDING is in place to finish designing the route of the long-awaited Helensburgh to Dumbarton cycle path – but there may be yet more hurdles lying in the way of the project's completion.

A report has revealed that walking and cycling charity SUSTRANS has agreed to provide funding for the new preferred route between Helensburgh and Cardross, and from Cardross to Dumbarton.

But the charity has also reclassified the project to a level which means that board approval must be sought at the end of each design stage.

And a council executive director has admitted that this process “may have the potential to introduce further delay” to the design stage of the project.

The path will be discussed at the meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee via Skype on Thursday, September 17.

A projected timetable published as part of a progress report on the scheme says that the entire project now has an estimated completion date of early 2027.

In the report, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said that SUSTRANS had committed funding for the two phases on July 31. This would complete the design stages before land acquisition and construction.

READ MORE: Helensburgh-Dumbarton cycle path delays 'an embarrassment', says senior councillor

She continued: “Due to the value of the project and its importance to the wider region, SUSTRANS have reclassified the Helensburgh, Cardross and Dumbarton Cyclepath project to a Tier 3 project.

“This means that we require to report to SUSTRANS project board on progress and gain the approval of the board at the end of each design stage prior to progressing to the next stage.

“This may have the potential to introduce further delay to the design process, however officers are working to ensure the programme aligns as closely as possible with planned board meeting dates to minimise the risk of further delays.”

Ms Flanagan's report also says that an application has been submitted to SUSTRANS for funding for a consultation on extending the route from western Helensburgh into the town centre. This is earmarked to be the final stage of the project.

She said: “SUSTRANS have indicated that they wish further evidence to demonstrate the need for this community engagement prior to considering an additional funding offer.”

The report also says that the 285-metre stretch of the route linking Cardross station to the Geilston Burn is now due to be completed in October, having been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the cycle path will be debated in public at Thursday’s meeting, part of the discussion will be held behind closed doors due to the need for confidentiality. A report on the land negotiations has also been withheld from the public for that reason.

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