DOG walkers, football players and parents have clashed over the use of a recreation ground in a row that has left a North Yorkshire community divided.

New moves to stop dogs being walked on the ground at Brompton, near Northallerton from the beginning of December have been agreed amid concerns children are being put at risk.

Dog walkers are challenging the decision with doubts that it can be legally enforced and are calling for consultation. They insist they are being penalised because of people who do not clean up after their dogs and fear the ban has split the village.

Brompton Juniors Football Club say there have been multiple problems over a long period, with dogs urinating on equipment, running amongst children whilst they are playing, causing fear and anxiety, piles of potentially toxic dog faeces on the field and although they have liaised with the dog warden, there has been no improvement.

A spokesperson said the club has proposed an alternative area where dogs are currently banned but which is not used for organised sport, which could be used as a dog walking area. The spokesperson added: “Other local football and sports clubs have long since banned dogs for the safety and well-being of their members. Brompton Juniors Football Club is only asking for a safe space to provide a safe, fun and friendly environment for children from three years to adults to socialise and stay healthy.”

However dog walker and parish councillor Steve O’Sullivan said: “This is a village facility not just a football field. The football club use it for approximately ten to 15 hours a week.

“As a result of the ban, which in my opinion cannot be enforced, people will no longer be able to use the facility for legitimate recreational activities. The only people this disadvantages are the responsible dog owners who not only clear up after their own dogs but pick up after other dogs when they see it. There has been absolutely no consultation with the dog walking community.

“This has left many people feeling very angry. All this has done is create a divide in the village. Sadly the people who don’t clean up after their dogs are not likely to adhere to the ban. Instead of engaging with dog walkers to improve the situation all this action has done is to alienate the very people whose support is needed to improve it.”

Northallerton town councillor Caroline Young who is a dog walker said: “We really want to find a compromise, I can see the problems for the football club and totally understand, it is very annoying for us responsible dog walkers to see mess left by others, but we are being penalised, hopefully there can be a compromise, maybe there could be a fence around the pitches.”

Brompton Recreation Group is responsible for operating the area, trustees say they want to stop dogs using the field because of the problems but it is not necessarily a ban because of the difficulties in enforcement. Trustee Barbara Slater said:”It has been an ongoing issue for a very long time. We have put up 25 signs around the ground asking dog owners to clean up, but there are still problems, some have even been pulled down. We want to encourage as many people as possible from the village to use the ground, but it is not fair for parents to have to clean up and worry about their children.”

Fellow trustee Derek Plews said they had had ten letters of complaint just since August. He added: “We get dozens of dog walkers a day and we just felt we had to take action because some just do not clean up after their pets. It is fair to say we are trying to work out a very difficult situation.”