Activists warned they could be back at the drawing board in two years as work on a long-promised cycle path in Helensburgh appears to have stalled.

Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) was presented with an update on 'Helensburgh in Motion' at their meeting on March 28.

The consultation by Argyll and Bute Council and Page\Park architects said their recent efforts would link in with the stalled cycle path from Dumbarton to Helensburgh.

They presented free tote bags to everyone at the meeting.

But actual cycle or transport improvements were very much not in the bag.

Colin Young, from the council, said they were restricted by funding rules by Transport Scotland that required four steps before getting near actual works.

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Community councillors urged any "cheap wins" to show the public there could be progress after so many years.

Nigel Millar said: "This is just a rerun of something I heard in 1998, 2005, 2011.

"I would suggest you look where are the quick wins to get momentum that people believe something will happen. That would be my advice to you.

"We have heard it all before and I would not be surprised if, in two years, we got the same talk all over again."

Mr Young admitted: "Quick wins would be brilliant, but the challenge is the funding model."

Community councillors were also critical that the consultation had not gone to the east of the town, through which the cycle route would go.

And they said it was phrased as a broad transport survey, not just the cycle path, as appeared to actually be the case.

READ MORE: Yet more delays could hit Helensburgh Dumbarton cycle path

Mr Young insisted they had an open mind about routes, and not just for cycling.

"We had not looked at the route at all from Hermitage Academy into the town," he said.

"We are starting the process of looking at that section of the route. Just stopping at the edge of Helensburgh is not ideal.

"What we really want to understand is what journeys do people in Helensburgh want to make?"

He said they hoped later this year to get funding for a concept design, followed by more consultation, then later next year to move to future steps.

Eilidh Henderson, a director at Page\Park, told the meeting they had "brilliant feedback" from the community council, schools and others.

She particularly praised pupils at Hermitage Academy and some contributions that "literally plotted on a map" the routes they wanted.

Sarah Davies, secretary of HCC, said: "I was surprised to discover this was a consultation for the route. It was not advertised as that. It was Helensburgh in Motion.

"I didn't get the feeling it was about the cycle path. What was that?"

And acting HCC convener Peter Brown said: "If it had been clearer upfront, that would have helped you get the input you needed."

"It was not just about cycling," said Ms Henderson.

"We have mapped every single point people have referenced. It was looking at all modes of active travel."

Mr Young said they were "trying to understand that wider package of journeys people want to make from Sinclair Street eastwards".

He said that could include for bicycles, pedestrians or mobility scooters.

"We are looking to understand if there are other routes we should be putting in," he said, "rather than that single route.

"It's an area study, not a route study."

Mr Young admitted it takes "several years" go through the funding and technical requirements.

He explained the current guidance was for cycle routes separated from the roadway and pavements, such as along the section of West Clyde Street in front of the leisure centre.

Mr Young and HCC agreed they would meet again later in the year.