Officers from Argyll and Bute Council say that it's unlikely the authority will be able to complete negotiations with the owners of land wanted for the path in time for the deadline to make a bid to the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund (LUF).

The same report also discloses that a funding bid for support to electric or hydrogen buses to the Helensburgh area and for a new rail halt at HM Naval Base Clyde looks likely to be axed.

The subject of amendments to the authority's planned LUF bid will be discussed on Thursday, May 19 - at the first full meeting of the new council since the local government elections earlier this month.

Council officials believe that the proposal for zero emission buses in the area would - even if UK Government funds were secured - would still cost the authority too much in the long term.

The council plans to make two bids to the Levelling Up Fund – a regeneration bid for up to £20 million, and a transport bid for up to £50m.

A report on the final bid is due to go before the full council next month.

If councillors' recommendations are approved, and the green buses proposal is not pursued, it would leave the regeneration of Helensburgh pier as the only Helensburgh and Lomond project in the £50m transport bid - which would still include other proposals for elsewhere in Argyll and Bute.

The initial proposal to bid for funds for the cycle path suggested the possibility of further extensions and links with existing facilities to create a route for cyclists stretching all the way from Dumbarton to Rosneath, via Cardross, Helensburgh, Rhu and Garelochhead.

Councillors will be asked next week to note that officers "continue to pursue other funding options" for the cycle path project.

In her report, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “This [the cycle path] is a long running project designed to provide an off-road walking and cycling path linking Helensburgh, Cardross and Dumbarton.

“Due to the long history of the project with the landowners between Helensburgh and Cardross, it is considered unlikely that it will be possible to secure a voluntary agreement with any of these landowners within the timescale of the Levelling Up Fund.”

According to the last update on the cycle path's progress, given to members of the previous council in March, the full route between Helensburgh town centre and Dumbarton is not likely to be completed until early 2028 - though the latest phase, linking Cardross railway station with the Geilston Burn to the west of the village, is due to be finished in the next few weeks.

On the bus proposal, Ms Flanagan added: “Members are aware that Helensburgh is home to HMNB Clyde, which continues to expand through the Maritime Change project.

“To assist the continued integration of the base with the wider community, officers considered a further substantial investment would be required in terms of transport connectivity.

“The development of a hydrogen/electric bus service and the purchase of buses to serve the community and the workers at the base and Colgrain, with a possible link to Glasgow Airport, together with the development of an additional rail halt at Garelochhead, was being reviewed and subject to feasibility work.

“In reviewing this option further, it is considered that this option would place too much recurring revenue costs on the council.

“Officers are still exploring whether we can get support for ongoing revenue costs but if this is not forthcoming, it makes this option less attractive.”

A third part of the bid, an off-road alternative route from Tarbert to Kennacraig, is also proposed for removal due to not being able to meet deadlines.