Housing plan revealed for historic Norwich Union building
PUBLISHED: 16:14 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:08 18 March 2020
One of the earliest Norwich Union buildings in the city centre could be set for conversion into housing.
Bignold House, on Surrey Street, became part of the insurance giant’s estate in 1819 - 190 years before the company even became known as Aviva.
Completed around 1764 and originally used as a mansion house, it was bought by the company to serve a mixed use - as offices and as the family home of company founder Thomas Bignold’s son Samuel.
The prominent building has remained a part of the family estate ever since, but has been empty for the past decade and has become a victim of dry rot.
Now though, plans have been lodged to convert it into a housing development, providing a mixture of one- and two-bedroom flats and a single townhouse - consisting of 14 properties in total.
Submitted by Lanpro on behalf of Bignold Estates Ltd, the plans would see the former mansion put into residential use for the first time in several years - having most recently solely been used as office space.
The proposed development would consist of four studio apartments, six one-bedroom apartments, three two-bedroom apartments and a single four-bedroom townhouse, with the latter split across three storeys. It had initially been planned for the building to provide 16 properties, but following initial discussions with city planners this figure was scaled back.
Bignold House is grade two listed, which Lanpro said had been taken into consideration in preparing the application.
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Papers submitted with the plans say: “The building has notable historic interest. This is derived principally from both being an example of a surviving large domestic house originating in the 18th century, but also from its association with two significant architects, Robert Mylne and Sir John Soane, and the Norwich Union.
“The subject property also contributes to an understanding of the social history and development of this part of Norwich in the 18th century, and as such adds to an appreciation of the evolving social and economic character of this part of the city.”
The application will be decided by Norwich City Council in due course.