Leeds & West Yorkshire

First Harry Ramsden's restaurant to close in Leeds

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Media captionInside the iconic fish and chips restaurant

The first restaurant opened by the fish and chip chain Harry Ramsden's is due to close after 83 years in business.

The 24 staff at the branch in Guiseley, Leeds, would be offered alternative jobs elsewhere but compulsory redundancies "may become necessary", the company said.

The Guiseley branch was the first to be opened by Harry Ramsden's, in 1928.

Harry Ramsden's said the brand was strong nationally, but was not immune to challenging economic conditions.

The company said it had now launched a 30-day consultation period over the proposed closure.

'Upsetting and stressful'

Joe Teixeira, Harry Ramsden's Chief Executive, said the company's Guiseley branch was making a loss and would need "considerable investment" before it could potentially become profitable again.

Mr Teixeira said the decision to begin talks on closing the restaurant was "not taken lightly".

"But we have to face the economic reality that it is loss-making," he said.

"I appreciate that this news will be deeply upsetting and stressful for our staff.

"We are giving them as much information as possible and doing whatever we can to help them through what will be a traumatic period for them."

'Hugely disappointing'

Harry Ramsden's was bought by Birmingham businessman Ranjit Boparan, of Boparan Ventures Ltd, in January 2010.

There are currently 35 Harry Ramsden's restaurants in the UK, including the branch in Guiseley.

Harry Ramsden's said it was reviewing other possible sites in Yorkshire for new restaurants, as part of a plan to modernise and re-position the brand.

It added that there were plans to expand extensively throughout the UK.

Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey, whose constituency includes Harry Ramsden's in Guiseley, said the proposed closure of the branch was "hugely disappointing".

He said that the restaurant had been an "iconic" part of Guiseley for many years.

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