There have been developments on the long awaited opening of the Northallerton Sports Village with people allowed to use the land and the running track, but organised events cannot yet be held.

The £1.3m first phase of the scheme was due to be opened in July but became bogged down in the transfer of the land from Hambleton District Council to North Yorkshire Council.

This week North Yorkshire’s assistant director for leisure and culture Jo Ireland, said: "Although the transfer of the land is still not complete, we are now able to allow public access on to the site which includes the one-kilometre circuit, amenity grass and car park. However, organised activity, that would require a licence will not be permitted until the land has been transferred to the council.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Fencing being taken off the Northallerton Sports Village site

"The capital works on the first phase of Northallerton Sports Village were completed in July, but the site remained closed to the public to allow the recreational grassed areas to establish.

"Opening of the site was then further held up due to a delay in the transfer of the land from the developers to the council."

Excitement started to mount at the beginning of the week when lorries were seen taking down much of the fencing which was supposed to block off the site but had been pushed down in places. Vandals had also caused major damage along with graffiti on a bridge and underpasses.

The sports village was always designed to enhance the former Stonecross playing fields and was a major part of the North Northallerton development of more than 900 houses, in conjunction with contractors Taylor Wimpey. The council say they are hoping to complete the transactions in the next few weeks so the site can be totally opened.

Organisers of Northallerton Parkrun welcomed the news but said they cannot have runs there until organised events can be licensed. A spokesperson said: "The good news is once open the core team can start looking at potential new routes, something we’ve been unable to whilst the space has been closed. As we have previously stated any change of route will take time and certainly can’t happen until the council has ownership of the land."

Claire Hampson, of the Wombles of Northallerton environmental group, said: "It all appears to be a bit of an anti climax. An opportunity has been missed to have a positive community opening, unless this has already been planned, but as usual the lack of communication with the general public has been disappointing."

The first phase has improved pathways and the beck creating new fitness trails and planting native species, creating a wetland area, and construction of community allotments. The works involved removing some trees to improve biodiversity and the provision of habitats for local wildlife in the long-term with the installation of bird and bat boxes and an otter holt which the council say will all contribute to improving biodiversity.

There was a further phase planned, phase two of the scheme to create grass pitches, and a full size 3G artificial pitch, but it’s not known when work on this is due to start or whether funding is in place.