PLANS have been drawn up for a another huge revamp of York’s main library so it can store the city’s priceless archives.

The scheme would see the refurbishment and extension of the first floor of the York Explore centre in Museum Street, and follows the facelift carried out on the ground floor of the Grade II-listed building in 2009, when the library was also renamed.

It will mean records dating back more than 800 years can be safely housed in a purpose-built area at York Explore rather than in storage space at a different site, where conditions have been branded “far from acceptable”.

It will also provide more space for the archives to be viewed.

The new refurbishment plans come after City of York Council last year secured £107,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop its Gateway To History scheme.

A planning application for the York Explore Phase II project has now been compiled by a design firm acting on the council’s behalf. The authority’s planners are expected to make a decision on it in October.

The HLF funding which has been secured so far has paid for work on preparing the ground for Gateway To History and compiling detailed plans.

A second bid to the organisation, seeking the £1.2 million needed to ensure the project can reach fruition, is now being submitted and is expected to be assessed shortly.

A planning statement for York Explore Phase II said the city’s archives were regarded as among the most important outside London and were “a focus of local identity and a sense of place”, as well as being the only record of how the city’s history has been shaped by its residents.

“The key aim of the project is to conserve and ensure the survival of the 800-year-old collection for generations to come, and includes the creation of a purpose-built, environmentally controlled repository which will hold the archive collection for the foreseeable future,” it said.

The planning statement also said the project would make the archives more accessible and raise their profile, meaning more visitors would be attracted to York Explore, and would also offer educational opportunities.