The future of the landmark Harry Ramsden’s restaurant is “impossible” to predict according to its owners, after the more than 80 years of history came to an end.
Workmen are now ripping out the interior of the world famous fish and chip eaterie in Guiseley after it closed on Monday with more than 20 staff accepting redundancy packages – almost exactly 83 years to the day after it opened.
But MP Stuart Andrew is “furious” the restaurant has been closed so quickly.
Tables, chairs, chandeliers and even carpets bearing the HR insignia are being removed by workmen following the shock announcement of the restaurant’s closure earlier this month.
The owners of Harry Ramsden’s say the White Cross site will be sold but have not revealed details about any potential purchasers for the building.
Local speculation claims it could be retained as a restaurant or become an old people’s home and will sit alongside an Aldi supermarket, which was given permission for construction earlier this year.
A spokesman for Boparan Ventures, who own the Harry Ramsden’s brand and the restaurant site, confirmed the building is up for sale and 24 members of staff have left the company.
“What it’s going to be sold for is impossible to say at this stage,” he said. “They (the staff) have all taken redundancy.”
But Mr Andrew, MP for Pudsey, is angry he has not heard back from owners after writing to them to ask them to reconsider their decision to close the restaurant.
“I am furious that the owners have moved so quickly to take this action,” he said.
“I have written to the owners to ask what efforts they have made to save the business and await reply. “It is really shocking to hear they are stripping this valued part of Guiseley without a jot of consideration for our heritage.”
It is understood workers at the site have been inundated with local people and tourists visiting the restaurant.
One woman was said to be in tears on Monday night after driving up from Devon with her husband for a meal at the restaurant as part of an annual trip to the area only to find it closed.
The White Cross site was where the original business began in 1928 in a ten foot by six foot wooden hut. The secret recipe used by Bradford-born Harry Ramsden when he started selling fish is still used today.
Harry Ramsden’s was bought by multi-millionaire businessman Ranjit Boparan, who also owns Northern Foods and who pledged to put it “back on the map”.
But earlier this month, Boparan Ventures chief executive Joe Teixeira said the restaurant was running at a loss and needed “considerable” investment to make it profitable again.