North Yorkhsire council has defended development of a £3.7m sports village amid protests that it won’t be used to its full potential with issues over dog dirt, delays and noise.

Sowerby Sports Village has been developed as part of the huge Sowerby Gateway housing development near Thirsk. Work struggled because of Covid but local residents are concerned football pitches are already not being used because of dog dirt, and work on a pavilion providing showers and toilet facilities is only now being built.

One resident who asked not to be named said: “It’s just a mess no one knows what is happening. It should have provided top facilities for the area but it doesn’t. The all weather pitch is really impressive and well used but the toilets and showers still aren’t completed.

“The other football pitches where dogs were not supposed to be allowed are now being used by dog walkers and the ground is so rough football teams are not playing and unless something is done very quickly it will just become an overgrown mess.

“The signs are ridiculous with a list of red, green and amber where dogs are supposed to be allowed off the lead and where they are not and no one takes any notice. Millions of pounds is being spent on this. Teams used to come from all over the region, as far as Whitby but there were no proper toilet facilities, it’s madness, the whole thing has not been properly thought through.”

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “This Sports Village is a hugely valuable venue for the community of Sowerby and the wider area, providing facilities for a host of sports and activities and aiding people’s health and well-being. It is already being used by two local sports groups and students from the local secondary school as well as walkers, joggers and cyclists and once completed in September even more groups and organisations will be able to use it.”

A large part of the development was funded by the former Hambleton District Council. North Yorkshire Council said Thirsk Falcons Football Club is the partner club for the sports village with a booking for the pitches Tuesday to Thursday evenings and at weekends with a pitch also booked out two evenings a week for Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers training sessions. A spokesperson added: “The bookings for the site have been restricted to our partner clubs, Falcons and Harriers, but once the new pavilion is open additional bookings will start to be taken.

“The £3.7m sports village is expected to be complete in September. The site is being well used by our partner groups as well as by students from Thirsk School and Sixth Form College. A number of groups and organisations have already expressed an interest in booking the facility for their activities, including inclusive sports groups, a football league, other football teams, and a cycling group.

“There is a dog policy in place for the sports village and there are signs in place around the pitches to ensure dogs are not left off the lead in this area, or allowed to go on the pitches.”