A YORK stray is being advertised as the city’s biggest Tour de France campsite – sparking claims residents were kept in the dark about the plans.
Monk Stray is set to cater for caravans, motorhomes and tents and host live entertainment and big-screen coverage of the world-famous cycle race when its opening stage, Le Grand Depart, comes to the city in July.
Stalls, a funfair and beer tents would be set up on the popular dog-walking area, overlooked by houses.
Heworth Without councillor Nigel Ayre said “behind closed doors” talks over the site were held by City of York Council’s Tour de France project board, despite Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, saying in 2011 that applications for public events licences on the stray would be consulted on. He has asked for details of any decisions.
York’s Tour de France website is advertising the stray as “our largest campsite and spectator hub” with bookings being taken for up to nine nights.
Coun Crisp said people would be consulted “more fully” once levels of interest in the campsite were established.
Coun Ayre said: “Monk Stray is well-loved and hugely valued by residents, and it is shocking there was no consultation.”
“The promise that use of it would not be considered without full consultation seems to have been ripped up in the rush to cash in on the Tour. Many residents still don’t know the scale of the proposals.”
Lesley Pratt, who lives next to the stray, said: “We don’t want to spoil anybody’s enjoyment of the Tour, but we are concerned about safety, disruption and the site being advertised with no licence in place and no consultation – it would have been polite to ask us.
“We can’t see how access, including for emergency vehicles, and parking would work and why it is being advertised for nine days.”
Coun Crisp said Monk Stray had two possible uses during Le Grand Depart; as a campsite and a spectator hub, with a licence application made for the latter. She said Coun Ayre had been asked for his views and invited to discuss the issue with officials.
She added: “A meeting is taking place next week in his ward, involving himself and residents, so I’m not really sure what his point is.
“The public’s views are important to us. We want to enable residents to get involved as much as possible to ensure the event is a great success for them and the city.”