A HISTORIC church in York is set to undergo a £3.5 million renovation - including a new roof and rebuilt bell tower.

St Michael Le Belfrey, in High Petergate, opposite the Minster, is now looking for architects to take on the ambitious brief and help safeguard the site for the future.

A conservation plan was first drawn up in 2011, with a further inspection in 2014 that highlighted the need to replace the church roof and dismantle and rebuild the bell tower, as well as repairing external and internal stonework.

The vision of the Parochial Church Council is to renew and enhance the church building to inspire and enable 21st century worship.

The church, which has raised the funds through donations, is hoping the renovation will make the historic building more accessible.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said there are two stages to the application.

She said the first involved an expression of interest in which firms were asked to demonstrate experience and previous designs.

She said: “The church is ideally looking for a firm who have previously worked on listed buildings or within conservation areas.

“From the applicants, a shortlist of five architectural firms will be decided.

“The second stage of the application will focus on design concepts.

"Each firm will be taken on a site visit of St Michael le Belfrey, before undertaking an interview and producing a short design project of the firm's ideas and proposals.”

The firms will be given £7,000 each to produce a design.

The competition winners will be decided this summer, however a date has yet to be set for the renovation work to start.

The current church is a grade-one listed building. It was completely re-designed and rebuilt in the early 16th century during King Henry VIII’s break with Rome. It remains the largest parish church in the city.

Architectural firms must apply for the opportunity by February 19. Further competition details can be found at ribacompetitions.com/belfrey/.