Residents fear a £300,000 upgrade of a popular route through St Andrews could jeopardise the safety of pedestrians.
Fife Council maintains the aim of improvements to Lade Braes Walk, which is about a mile and a half long and follows the route of an old mill lade through the town, is to improve the path for users, including people in wheelchairs.
The authority said the route does not form part of the National Cycle Network.
The Confederation of St Andrews Residents’ Associations (CSARA) has claimed a condition of securing £150,000 in Sustrans funding for the scheme was encouraging cycling, which they say could lead to a “dramatic change in the use and safety of the path because long distance cyclists tend to ride in groups and at speed.”
Group chairman David Middleton said: “CSARA supports the upgrading of the Lade Braes path, but not at the risk to safety or the loss of amenity that facilitating long distance cycling, as opposed to the current modest level of leisure cycling, would entail.
“CSARA strongly advocates a safe cycle network for St Andrews but not one which occupies traditional pedestrian spaces or increases safety risks for pedestrians.”
Mr Middleton said a safety review carried out by CSARA to assess the stretch from Bridge Street to Cockshaugh Park demonstrated the route did not comply with safety standards for shared use paths.
The document stated the safety of young children playing and cycling on the path was increasingly in jeopardy because of “irresponsible adult cycling”.
“While this section of Lade Braes Walk is not included in the plans, any increase in cycling on the parkland path would inevitably impact on the residential section.
“There are additional areas of the parkland section west of Cockshaugh Park which even after the ‘upgrade’ would not meet the required government standards.”
Alan Bisset, Fife Council’s capital projects manager, said: “The purpose of the project is to improve the existing Lade Braes path. Improving the surface will mean the path will be fully accessible for all.
“Some sections of the existing path and in particular the entrance across from Carron Gardens is in a very poor condition and not suitable for a range of users including wheelchairs.
“The route will only be promoted for leisure use as there is an alternative cycling route along Hepburn Gardens for those wishing a quicker and more direct route into the town centre. Signage will be included to promote leisure use and inform the public of alternative routes for commuting.
“There has never been a proposal to change the use of the route into a cycle highway and the improvements proposed are very much sympathetic to the woodland nature of Lade Braes. The route does not form part of the National Cycle Network.
“The consultation carried out during 2019 was in proportion to the scale of the project and works are due to commence Autumn 2020.”