THE first cycle route in Watford's Cassiobury Park is expected to be completed by June.

The route will take cyclists from Rickmansworth Road, round by the tennis courts to the tea pavilion, and out into Shepherds Road linking up to an existing cycle path.

The route will be the first part of a four-phase scheme to create cycle routes in the park and this first route will cost between £13,000 and £15,000.

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Work on the remaining three phases of the route is not expected to start for at least another year because of legal problems.

These tracks will run along public footpaths, and will need special cycle track orders from the Government as the tracks will change the nature of the footpaths before work can begin.

Orders for all the tracks were granted by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) in 1998.

However, following objections to the routes by residents, the proposals were changed by Watford Council, which rendered the orders invalid.

Therefore, to implement the rest of the revised scheme, a new order has to be made, which will mean more public consultation.

The main objections to the cycle scheme come from the Friends of Cassiobury Park, Cassiobury Residents' Association and Cassiobury Triangle Residents Association, which object to the principle of cycling in the park.

Before the matter goes before the DETR again, Watford councillors have suggested meeting with the groups again to iron out any problems with the revised plan.

Chairman of the planning and highways committee Geoff O'Connell said: "We have amended the plans several times to reach a near agreement, but we should go back to residents to try and reach a better agreement before we begin the whole process again."

However, Mr Stephen Dolley, from the Friends of Cassiobury Park, is sceptical a meeting between objectors and councillors would achieve anything more than the last time they met.

He said: "I take the news the council will approach us again with a pinch of salt. I simply don't believe it.

"They have not really amended the routes, or listened to our main objections.

"They have merely tinkered with a few bits around the outside. We have objected, and they are trying to push it through regardless.

"If we meet again, it will be the same as last time. The council just wants us to agree because they do not want to go to public consultation again.

"If they agreed to the amendments we want, then we would listen."