THE fate of a controversial cycleway in Ayr is set to be decided today with SNP councillors in South Ayrshire spearheading calls to have the segregated route along the A70 ripped out and the original carriageway restored.

Opponents of the Holmston Road cycleway are angry that it was installed along the arterial road without any public consultation. They insist the design is dangerous and causing congestion on residential side streets.

Councillor Allan Dorans, leader of the SNP opposition, said: "Essentially, no one wants it, no one needs it, there's no demand for it - but the main issue is the lack of consultation."

Read more: Helen McArdle - Are councils derailing the Scottish Government's cycle targets?

Mr Dorans will today seek cross-party support from the Conservative-Labour run administration to remove the cycleway, a bi-directional route which is protected from traffic by concrete barriers and highlighted by bright blue paint which Mr Dorans described as "hideous". Previously the road had two separate, non-segregated cycle lanes on either side of the carriageway.

The Ayrshire Roads Alliance said that since the overall road width is unchanged, there was no requirement to consult. Construction began in August after ARA obtained £65,000 funding from organisations including Sustrans Scotland to create the infrastructure, in line with Scottish Government policy to promote cycling.

However, Mr Dorans said the design was hazardous. He said: "They've extended the bus stops from the pavement out into the middle of the road and they've narrowed the carriageway down to just two lanes where previously people could pass. The effect is that buses now stop in the road causing traffic behind them to queue up. If there's a breakdown or an emergency vehicle trying to get through, it's a problem. We've had lorries overtaking parked buses and near misses. It's awful.

Read more: Helen McArdle - Are councils derailing the Scottish Government's cycle targets?

"It's also taken away parking for people visiting the cemetery. Now they need to park in the side streets, causing problems for local residents there. I'm totally supportive of the Scottish Government policy to increase cycling and have 10 per cent of journeys made by bike by 2020, but there were two perfectly good cycle lanes there before."

It comes a week after SNP and independent councillors in East Dunbartonshire voted against extending the Bears Way segregated cycleway, leading to criticism that the SNP's national objectives are not being followed at local level. Days earlier, transport statistics showed that the cycling rates are falling in Scotland.

Emilia Hanna, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "There are many people in Scotland and in Ayr who feel prevented from cycling because it’s not safe, so projects which create separated, safe paths for people to ride bikes on are exactly the sort of thing needed. Segregated cycle lanes offer a way for people of all ages and varying abilities to feel safe enough to get on their bike, getting fit and benefiting the environment in the process.

The SNP’s vision is to get many more people walking and cycling in order to encourage healthy lifestyles, tackle air pollution, and combat climate change, so it is hypocritical of the SNP group to tear up a project which has potential to get more people on their bikes.

Daisy Narayanan, Acting Director, Sustrans Scotland said: "It is important to stress that this project will be introduced without any reduction in road space or parking facilities already in place.

Read more: Helen McArdle - Are councils derailing the Scottish Government's cycle targets?

"Essentially, we believe that this is a small change which has a big impact by providing dedicated and safe facilities for people on bicycles, separating them from vehicles.

"We provided £30,000 of Community Links funding towards this project which will create a protected route for active travel. Our Community Links programme is funded by Transport Scotland and encourages higher levels of active travel in villages, towns and cities across the country. The new cycling infrastructure along Holmston Road will help people of all abilities to cycle for their everyday journeys, making our roads safer, saving people money while providing a daily dose of exercise. It is due to be completed by summer 2017.

"Segregated cycleways, such as Holmston Road, are important as they improve perceptions of safety and make cycling a more realistic choice for people of all ages and abilities. Our Community Links programme is making a major contribution to the Scottish Government's vision of 10 per cent of all everyday journeys to be made by bike by 2020 as set out in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland."