The vast Marsh building in the city centre should remain as office space once the insurance firm has moved out, a senior business figure has said.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Business Improvement District (BID), was speaking after the company announced its plans to leave Victoria House, in Queens Road, and relocate to Broadland Business Park, on the outskirts.

He welcomed the fact that Marsh was remaining in the area, but called for the city centre location to continue as a commercial site, rather than be used for housing.

"We see it as a good opportunity for space to be redeveloped into space for small and medium sized enterprises. There is a need for the technology and creative industries in Norwich to find space to allow these organisations to grow.

"For us we would definitely be looking to see the building retained as office space. We would not want to see it redeveloped as residential space.

"In Norwich there is a need for good quality office space."

Marsh owns its current Victoria House office, a four-storey detached building encompassing 61,718 square feet.

As part of its move to Broadland Business Park on the edge of the city, it is understood that the firm is looking to dispose of its current location.

The position of Victoria House near St Stephen's roundabout, however, makes it attractive to redevelopers looking to turn it into residential properties.

Guy Gowing, managing partner of Arnolds Keys, a commercial property and lettings agents, said: "The building is a very good site and it may go for another office use. There are precious few big offices in Norwich.

"It is in a very good location on the edge of the Golden Triangle, so it would also make a good residential space."

With 1,000 staff based at the Victoria House office, the relocation is set to have an impact on businesses in the city centre, which has already had to cope with a fall in trade during the pandemic and the growth in remote working.

Mr Gurney said: "For the city centre the immediate impact of Marsh relocating is the loss to those businesses in and around the area, the knock on effect of losing lunchtime trade on cafes and restaurants."

If the building was redeveloped into residential homes, small businesses may have to adapt to meet their needs.

"It would be a change in the area," said Mr Gowing. "The needs of of residents is different to office workers."