A FRESH row has blown up over plans to allow camping on an historic York stray during the Tour de France.

Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Ayre claims council leaders are exploiting a “planning loophole”

from the 1960s to host camping on Monk Stray, as legislation from the 1960s allows the Caravan Club to organise camping without a planning application.

But City of York Council’s cabinet member for tourism, Cllr Sonja Crisp, accused him of trying to “mislead the public”.

Cllr Ayre’s comments came yesterday after the council announced it had struck a deal with the Caravan Club to operate city-centre sites for tents and caravans next to the Tour de France spectator hubs when the tour comes to York on July 6.

In the case of Monk Stray a council spokesman said there will be a one-day spectator hub on July 6 at the southernmost tip of the stray and camping at the northern part for several days.

The council originally wanted permission to use the stray for “family events” on up to 14 days a year, leading to strong opposition from locals.

The council’s own licensing panel said in March that the tour hub can go ahead but refused a licence for anything else.

Cllr Ayre, who represents Heworth Without, said: “It is concerning that the views of local residents seem to be being ignored.”

He also said the council was building a new gate as residents had refused to allow another one to be used, and added: “It does appear that step-by-step the council is trying to dismantle the decisions taken by its own licensing committee in March.”

Cllr Crisp, said March’s decision related to holding events such as films, live music and the sale of alcohol.

She said: “The use of a different part of the site under the management of the Caravan Club was not part of the licensing decision as it does not require a licence.”

He said Coun Ayre was giving “misleading information” to suit his political aims.