FOLLOWING your publication of Leonard Robinson’s letter of April 26, the committee of Poppleton Arts Appreciation Society discussed York Museums Trust’s (YMT) proposal to impose a charge of £7.50 for adult entry.

We unanimously endorsed his view that: “Art galleries and museums form an essential part of our educational system and must be fully available to everyone.”

The introduction of this charge will render our renovated gallery unattractive to the majority and inaccessible to many. We note with dismay that York’s Art Gallery will, of all civic galleries in Yorkshire, be alone in charging for admission, aside from Scarborough Art Gallery, which charges £2 per adult.

This charge will deter the majority of visitors. We doubt the renovation of the gallery would have received such widespread support had it been known that as the trust’s spokesman has recently said the YMT “has had to become a cultural business rather than a cultural service”.

Were this philosophy embraced more widely, will we soon be paying to use the library and to walk in Museum Gardens or on the city walls?

The YMT obtained two large grants from public bodies, each of which has the objective of increasing the benefits of the gallery to our community; the Arts Council of England has awarded £840,000 over the next three years and City of York Council continues to support the gallery, with a reduced grant of £600,000 a year.

This proposed charge will be galling to residents who will pay twice, once through their council tax and secondly at the door. It threatens the long-term existence of our beloved art gallery.

John Craven, On behalf of Poppleton Arts Appreciation Society, Nether Poppleton, York.