THE projected completion date of the Helensburgh to Dumbarton cycle track has been pushed back again – by another two years.

A new report reveals that the route is now not expected to be finished until early 2030.

The report also says that fewer than half of the landowners on the route between Colgrain and Dumbarton have agreed to ecological surveys being carried out on their properties – a step that’s essential for the project to go ahead.

It also reveals there has been a "loss of trust" between local land owners and the design contractors for the project.

There is also another change to the planned route of the path, resulting in another £6,500 being added to the bill, with work by design contractors WSP now costing more than £259,000.

The report will go before members of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee on Tuesday, June 13.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The same report to the committee’s previous meeting, in March, maintained the planned completion date of early 2028.

In the report for this week’s meeting, council executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “Land access requests for the purpose of non-invasive ecology surveys were sent by WSP in March 2023 to the 15 affected landowners.

“Of these, seven have agreed to allow access, three rejected the request but asked for direct contact from the council, three rejected the request for access, and, at time of writing, WSP were unable to reach two landowners.

“The primary reasons for rejection of access appear to be around a loss of trust in WSP and the wider design process, exacerbated by the delay in providing feedback to landowners following initial meetings caused by the nearly 18 month pause in work by WSP.

“One landowner stated they opposed the selected route alignment and any proposals to cross their land, while another stated that the path crossing their land was not part of their revised business plan.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

“From the responses received, there is a clear need for the design team and the wider project to seek to rebuild trust with landowners if we are to progress this project in a cooperative manner.

“Due to the nature of ecological investigations, it is necessary for these to cover a wider area than the land directly occupied by the path. As such, four of the landowners contacted do not have land which the path will require to pass over.

“Subsequent to completion by WSP of their work package further elements will require to be undertaken to complete the design package required for construction.

“This includes ground investigation surveys, ecology surveys which can only be undertaken during summer months, a quality review of the design work undertaken by WSP and submission of planning application and related statutory permissions.”

There is more positive news regarding a section linking Morrisons supermarket with Helensburgh town centre.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Ms Flanagan added: “Officers are working to award a contract to a design contractor by end-June to identify the preferred route linking the existing cycle path at Morrisons Supermarket/Hermitage Academy to Helensburgh Town Centre and the new section of segregated cycleway at Helensburgh Waterfront, and to develop the preferred route to concept design stage.

“The outline programme for this work forecasts completion of design stages 0-2 (initial business case, feasibility and route alignment and concept design) by the end of 2023/24.

“This work will include community engagement to ensure the route links the most appropriate locations and best serves community needs.”