Apology from NatWest after delay to opening of flagship Norwich branch

The former HMV store, Davey Place, Norwich, that has not yet been converted into a NatWest Bank bran

The former HMV store, Davey Place, Norwich, that has not yet been converted into a NatWest Bank branch. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Bosses at NatWest have apologised for a delay which has meant a proposed new flagship branch in Norwich city centre is still empty, more than a year after the bank leased the building.

The bank closed a deal to take on the former HMV store in Gentleman's Walk last year and, for months, hoardings around the building have promised a new branch for the city is 'coming soon''.

But with no work taking place, questioned have been raised over the lack of progress. The response from NatWest is that it is still putting the finishing touches to the designs for the branch.

A NatWest spokesman said: 'We are currently concluding the designs for this flagship branch in Norwich so that it can best serve the needs of all our customers.

'We'd like to apologise for the delay and look forward to sharing these exciting plans in the coming months.'

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The bank, which has two other branches on St Stephens and London Street in the city centre, signed a lease for the building, which has three floors and a basement, last April.

Adrian Fennell, retail partner at chartered surveyors Roche, said at the time the lease was agreed that NatWest's decision represented a vote of confidence in Norwich as strong area for banking in the UK.

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He said: 'This substantial investment underlines the strength of Norwich not just as a shopping destination, but also as a business and financial centre.'

HMV went into administration in July 2014 after coming into financial difficulty. It does still have a store in the Chapelfield shopping centre.

After the closure of the Gentleman's Walk store, several interested parties were known to have looked at the site, including American clothing corporation Urban Outfitters, before NatWest took on the lease.

It remains unclear what the future holds for the other two branches once the Gentleman's Walk NatWest branch does open.

Is your business taking over new premises? Call business writer Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879.

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