YORK residents will have to pay for entry to the reopened city art gallery, and free entry to the Yorkshire Museum and Castle Museum is ending as well, under proposals to be decided on next week.

Council papers recommend the proposed £7.50 entry charge for the gallery goes ahead - with free entry for residents on just three days a year.

At the same time, the York Museums Trust (YMT) want to stop free entry with a York Card for both the Castle Museum and Yorkshire Museum.

Instead, the YMT wants a membership-style scheme which will charge £22 a year, or £17 for York Card holders, for a year's entry to all three sites.

Under the terms of its lease for the art gallery and Castle Museum buildings, the YMT has to ask for permission to stop free entry for York residents.

A trust spokesman has indicated the new regime would also apply at the Yorkshire Museum.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Leisure Culture and Tourism at City of York Council, said the changes came in the light of funding cuts across the arts.

The trust currently gets £1 million per year less in grants than it was just two years ago because of public spending cuts.

He added: "With significant funding cuts across the arts spectrum and with greater ones expected in the future, we are working with the Trust to find the best way forward.

"We need to continue to ensure that the Trust is able to innovate and build a sustainable future, while making sure that all residents get the opportunity to experience York’s cultural offer."

Cllr Ayre said there were other options being discussed, including year-round free access for under 16s, and free entry for York Card holders during the Residents' Festival and on one other day in the year.

YMT chief executive Dr Janet Barnes said the trust has ambitious plans for new exhibition space, and a new attraction at York St Mary's.

She said: “We are very excited about the reopening of York Art Gallery which will be a huge asset to the cultural life of the city and we hope will attract many new visitors to the city. 

"By the autumn the garden project will be complete, opening up a whole previously unused part of the city to the public and creating new green pathways linking up the river to Exhibition Square.

“Future plans also include extending Yorkshire Museum by creating a new temporary exhibition gallery in the basement currently used as a museum store. YMT is also planning to create a brand new visitor attraction at York St Mary’s which will tell the history of York using the latest technology.

"The longer term plan will be improving York Castle Museum to create museum facilities appropriate for the 21st century. All these projects will celebrate the importance of York and we will need the support of the city council and local residents to achieve them.”

Cllr Ayre is to be asked to decide whether to accept the new charges at a decision session, after a policy and scrutiny committee meeting to discuss the plan.