A 19th century organ that would be removed from a Norwich church if controversial plans to turn the building into an arts venue go ahead could be found a new home.

Concerns had been raised over the future of the organ inside the Grade I-listed former United Reformed Church in Princes Street.

Eastern Daily Press: The organ in the former United Reformed Church in Princes StreetThe organ in the former United Reformed Church in Princes Street (Image: Submitted)

Applicant Friars 923 Ltd, a company owned by Norfolk developer Andre Serruys, has asked Norwich City Council for permission to turn the building into an "arts and dance facility, with capacity to host live music events, with the option to serve food and drink".

Planning documents lodged with City Hall stated the organ, built in 1875, would be removed - but did not explain what would then happen to it.

That prompted fears over what could happen to the instrument, which was built by Victorian organ builder Henry 'Father' Willis and is considered by experts to be of "at least regional significance".

Eastern Daily Press: Henry 'Father' WillisHenry 'Father' Willis (Image: Public domain)

Dr Andrew Hayden, secretary of the Incorporated Society of Organ Builders, who lives in Freethorpe, has objected, as has the charity Pipe Up for Pipe Organs.

Civic watchdog the Norwich Society, in its submission to the council, also raised concerns about the organ's fate.

Eastern Daily Press: The former United Reformed Church in NorwichThe former United Reformed Church in Norwich (Image: Dan Grimmer)

But Mr Serruys said "numerous options" were being considered and urged those concerned about the organ to remove their objections.

He said: "We are only too aware of the importance of this organ and to suggest that it will end up in a skip is simply wrong. This will never happen.

"We have, for some long time, been considering numerous options, including arranging a new home as a charitable gift - the most likely scenario."

Separate to concerns over the organ, the bid to convert the building, built by Norwich architect Edward Boardman in 1869, has also triggered dozens of objections.

Richard Eagleton, chairman of the Friends of Elm Hill, said: "The application is misguided and ill-thought through - it's just not credible."

A decision will be made by Norwich City Council in due course.