Plans have FINALLY been revealed for a prominent city centre shop that has been empty for more than three years. 

The H Samuel store in Gentlemans Walk closed down during the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. 

Since then, the prime retail unit - opposite the market and alongside a Lloyds Bank branch - has stood vacant and boarded up.

Eastern Daily Press: The former H Samuel has been vacant for more than three yearsThe former H Samuel has been vacant for more than three years (Image: Newsquest)

But new plans submitted to the city council could see the former jewellers converted into a branch of The Co-operative Bank.

If approved, the now-derelict site would be completely renovated, with a contemporary shopfront entrance installed alongside an ATM machine.

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The ground floor would become a space for counters and offices, while the lower ground would be converted into an archive and communal staff area. 

A litter bin currently positioned outside the building would also be repositioned.

The plans come as the Norwich area faces a decline in banking services.

Eastern Daily Press: The proposed Co-op bankThe proposed Co-op bank (Image: Norwich City Council)

Most recently, the Co-operative branch in London Street has been put up for sale - while the controversial closure of the Mile Cross NatWest will leave the suburb with just one bank.

In a letter penned to NatWest earlier this year, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith urged the banking giant to remain open.

Ms Smith said that, while she realised banking habits had changed in recent years, many people and businesses relied on in-person services and staff could be offered jobs further afield, leading to more expense during a tough time.

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She said: "I am concerned and disappointed that yet another local banking branch is closing.  

"Local residents and businesses lose the Mile Cross HSBC branch at the end of July, and the community need resilient and high-quality services in the area.

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich North MP Chloe SmithNorwich North MP Chloe Smith (Image: PA)

“The industrial estates and facilities in the north of the city really matter, with businesses big and small and significant regional assets like the airport. 

"I want the local economy to thrive, with the right services that people need.”

In a bid to reduce the number of branches closing, government plans have emerged to pressure banks to ensure customers have access to cash within three miles.

Any company failing to do this could face a fine from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).