WORK on two new sport pitches in Test Valley could be ready for kickoff next month, according to a community leader.

Now cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on the borough council, has revealed the football pitches in Cutforth Way, Abbotswood, will be a dog-free zone in a bid to protect the pitches from being ruined.

Mr Adams-King said: "Over the coming weeks the sports pitches will open, initially as a green space for public use.

"While being used as a green space, the sports pitches will be designated as dog-free areas to protect the site and ensure the quality of the pitches can be maintained."

He added the contractors who have carried out the work on the pitches have been "strictly following social distancing guidelines", meaning the pitches could be open in "early June".

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Nick Adams-KingCllr Nick Adams-King

READ: Work on football pitches to kick off >>> 

The football pitches, run by TVBC, will also boast a community sports pavilion, 40 car parking spaces, a bicycle storage facility and a multi-use games area on the site, but it is not known when these facilities will be completed.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I am really looking forward to all the facilities there being completed, but one of the things nobody could have anticipated was the previous firm working on the pitches went bankrupt; however we are on the last lap with getting everything sorted now.

"One of the things that worries me is some people seem to think it is not a playing field for young and older people, but for their dogs.

"The problem is people let their dogs off leads and this upsets other dogs and children, which is irresponsible dog ownership."

She added: "I think it is because it has taken so long to finish that people have been abusing the area, but hopefully in a few more weeks we can get back to playing sport and the pitches will be ready to go."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy Baverstock Cllr Dorothy Baverstock

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, Romsey town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said: "I am just glad that progress is being made on it because there has been such a delay in handing the pitches over for public use.

"I think you can never have enough open space and it is a big area that can be used outside of the football season."

Mr Edgerley added the work has been "delayed" due to the company responsible for building the pitches going "bust".

He said: "Abbotswood was built by a consortium of different builders and as part of the development they had to provide certain facilities, so those sport pitches were part of that.

"The fact the company went bust meant this caused delays and what TVBC has done is finish the work."

READ: Business based at Romsey school treats children to sport activities amid lockdown >>>

It is not known which company went into administration.

When previously asked how much the football pitches have cost, TVBC could not confirm a figure.

For clubs and teams looking to book the site, TVBC's bookings team can register interest for the coming season with Pitch Bookings: Pitchbookings@testvalley.gov.uk.

Actual bookings will be taken once guidelines for the coming season are released.