IT IS dubbed the Scottish capital's "cycle superhighway" and is the most ambitious bike route in the city, linking Leith in the east to Roseburn in the west.

However, plans for the £5.5m scheme - revised from an original £9m - which were designed to create a healthy alternative for commuters have led two groups of residents to pitch against each other in a battle over which route the pathway should take.

While some residents and businesses have campaigned for a less direct route called Option B through the Roseburn area others have backed Option A, a route with fewer road crossings - a factor which it is claimed would deter many cyclists from using the pathway.

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Dozens of business owners earlier appealed to Edinburgh City Council, which will make a decision on the plans this Friday, claiming a pathway alongside their firms would have a “hugely detrimental" impact on trade.

The council said its traffic modelling predicts only a “modest impact” on traffic flow and that traders in Roseburn Terrace will not lose any parking bays in the immediate vicinity of their shops.

The council's consultation on the pathway, that would be largely protected from traffic cuts across the city along the west end and through George Street, found 1,768 - 66 per cent - were in support of the scheme while 900 - 34 per cent - were in opposition.

The council said in its report to be considered this week that "Option A delivers a better cycle route and overall a more people-friendly street environment in Roseburn Terrace.

"However Option B still delivers a workable cycle route and improved conditions for pedestrians in Roseburn, whilst addressing more fully local business concerns around loading and probably reducing the risk of additional congestion on the A8.

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"Under either Option A or Option B there is scope to further review parking and loading serving Roseburn Terrace during the detailed design process in consultation with local businesses and residents."

Peter Gregson, of the Roseburn Vision group, claimed it has conducted a survey which showed few new users would be attracted to the cyclepath.

He said: "There are better ways to boost cycling, and ones that don’t remove 40 per cent of parking and loading from local shops, either.

“We think the council is embarking on a disaster that will throttle the city, and that few will ever use.

"We call on residents to persuade politicians to vote against it on Friday.”

However, the Roseburn Cycle Route group has challenged its findings, and said: "The results of the Roseburn Vision group survey should be treated with caution.

"This is not about arguments for or against the East-West route.

"The survey has been promoted with campaigners going door-to-door to get responses in Murrayfield and Roseburn.

"People from elsewhere in the city are likely to be under-represented."

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The project got the go-ahead from the transport and environment committee in August, but a new group involving interested parties had to be set up to help decide the final route.

The meeting is a special public session of the future transport working group in the City Chambers where Paul Lawrence, the council's director of place, will make the decision under delegated authority - granted by the committee in August.

The council said either way the scheme will then move to the detailed design stage.