Residents in Abernethy have thrown their weight behind a new path aimed at making a Perthshire road safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
The plans for a £1.6m cycleway along the A912 are set to be progressed soon, but have divided opinion locally.
Sparked by the tragic death of cyclist and local schoolteacher Adam Pattinson last year, funding has been secured for a 1.6km path along the northern fringe of the single carriageway connecting Bridge of Earn with Aberargie.
Construction work is expected to progress soon and it is hoped the path will eventually extend all the way to Newburgh, something active travel campaigners like Perth Area Living Streets are keen to see come to fruition.
However, while the project has been met with some opposition from the community council in Bridge of Earn, counterparts in Abernethy say the community are “unanimous” in their desire to see the path installed to improve safety for cyclists.
Earn Community Council expressed fears over the conditions the cycleway will be exposed to, its cost and the implications it could have on the adjacent 60mph main road.
But Abernethy and District Community Council chairman Ritchie Young says its crucial to use the Sustrans money or face losing it.
Ritchie said that neither the existing route nor with the alternative road to Bridge of Earn via Dron are fit for purpose for cyclists and said blocking the first phase would put the second part at risk.
Ritchie said: “Cycling is not great here.
“The overriding feeling is that people would probably use it [a cycle path] if it was there.
“The alternative route along the Dron road is not safe either.
“People have got some questions about there being no barrier but it is still much safer than cycling on the A912 road.
“Funding has been achieved, if we don’t use it, it will go away.”
Ritchie says the community would be shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t back the plans.
He said: “There is much positivity toward the project at our end of the road as we have no safe alternative way of commuting to Perth and whilst there are some concerns about design elements, amongst the members present there was unanimous support for this project which will bring enormous benefits to the area.
“It was also decided we should make our stance public as there is concern about some negativity surrounding the project, risking derailing it altogether.
“We suggest that the green tourism income, increased safety of the Baiglie Straight, local health benefits and potential reduction of car travel are all extremely positive for our communities.”
Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, who have already achieved funding through Sustrans, will be discussing the project at Abernethy Community Council’s next digital meeting on March 25.