A CHARITY fears it might have to reduce its costs - potentially affecting vital services to people with sight loss - after being told to leave its York headquarters to make way for a proposed new Roman museum.

The head of MySight York says it will have to pay an extra £30,000 per annum in rent after moving from offices in Rougier Street to a new base in Merchantgate at the end of this month.

Chief executive Karen Froggatt said the charity will have to cut back on its running costs, which could impact on the services it provides, unless fundraising increases to meet the higher bill.

The charity, which was formerly known as the York Blind & Partially Sighted Society and has been based at Rougier House for the past five years, provides practical advice, emotional support and information to people with sight loss.

It also demonstrates a vast range of equipment at its headquarters and runs a full programme of activities in a room upstairs, from Boccia and Tai Chi to knitting and singing.

Its volunteers also visit people in their homes to offer support and companionship and help them to be more independent, and the charity provides a free, confidential counselling service and a Sight Support Service in York Hospital Trust Eye Clinics.

Karen said members familiar with visiting Rougier House will now have to get used to new bus routes - and safe road crossings - to get to Merchantgate, and the charity will face a logistical headache in transferring IT, furniture and equipment across the city centre to its new HQ.

Rougier House and the adjoining Society Bar are both set to be demolished as part of a £150 million proposed redevelopment of the area by developers North Star.

The York Archaeological Trust plans to stage a major dig on the site prior to the creation of a major new Roman visitor attraction.

A spokesman for North Star said MySight leased space within Rougier House, which North Star leased to City of York Council.

“We are aware that the lease has expired and MySight remain in occupation whilst they secure alternative premises, which we understand are at an advanced stage,” he said.

“We have been working with the council and our other tenants to free up the buildings to enable this comprehensive redevelopment to be moved forward, bringing the many benefits to Rougier Street and the city as a whole.

“We are sure that this important charity will continue its good work in York from their new home and we wish them well in the future.”

l To support MySight York or for further information, go to www.mysightyork.org or visit its new premises on the corner of Piccadilly from August 1.