PUBLIC access to York’s archives is to be suspended next year until they complete their move to a new home at York Explore Library.

The archives are set to leave their base in the City Art Gallery to allow for a major gallery redevelopment by York Museums Trust.

A City of York Council spokeswoman said the archives would be temporarily relocated to secure off-site storage to protect them from damage which would occur if they remained in the gallery during the revamp.

“This will unfortunately require a temporary suspension of public access to the original archives from February 1,” she said.

“However, whilst the archives are in storage, the existing local history library service at York Explore will still be available, including copies of some of the archives on microfilm and in published form.”

She said public access would be suspended for between four to five months and a year, depending on the outcome of a bid for funding for a York: Gateway To History project from the Heritage Lottery Fund, on which a decision was expected at about Christmas.

If successful, the first-floor could be refurbished to create a suite of easily accessible public spaces for archive users, and a new conservation store built to the latest British Standard to house the archives themselves, but this would lead to the loss of access for up to a year.

• Anyone with comments or suggestions about future plans for the archives should email or write to: Richard Taylor, Gateway to History project, City of York Council, 2nd floor, 18 Back Swinegate, York.