Virgin Money to open first High Street branch in Norwich

Norwich will be the location of one of Virgin Money's first ever high street banks, after the company secured planning permission to convert a city centre shop.

Richard Branson's banking business was founded in Norwich and now wants to make the switch from online banking to the high street.

The company, which employs 275 people in Norwich, has gained planning permission to create what its designers call a 'lounge store' in Castle Street, in the old Davey Place post office which is currently LK Bennett.

Described as 'a new concept in banking', the store will mix the more traditional office set-up, with other uses such as wi-fi internet access, refreshments and space for local community groups to use.

The store will be open seven days a week from 9am until the early evening and will create jobs for around a dozen full-time staff.

Scott Mowbray, Virgin Money spokesman, said: 'For 16 years we have been an online business and we have more than three million customers, but this will be our first physical presence on the High Street.

'Norwich will be one of the very first and it will enable us to build a relationship with our customers. We want to create a place where people want to spend time. 'With most banks they are cold, functional places where you go to do what you need to do and then leave, but we want this to be a place where people don't mind spending time.

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'Refreshments will be offered and people will be able to use wi-fi and iPads as well as accessing the usual banking facilities.'

The store, due to open in the autumn, will also feature exhibition and community space, which Mr Mowbray said could be available for local community groups.

Norwich will be one of the first four branches, alongside Manchester, Edinburgh and London.

The Castle Street store is currently occupied by LK Bennett, but nobody at the women's clothes and footwear company was available to comment on whether the company would continue to have a presence in Norwich.

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