One of Bradford's big success stories - the Pennington Midland Hotel, pictured - has been sold to a national hotel chain for £4.25 million.

John and Josie Pennington, who bought the building in Cheapside for less than £1 million in 1992, have sold the Victorian hotel to the Peel Hotel Group.

Mr Pennington, 49, said today: "I shall be sad to leave it as Josie and I have put so much work into it over the years, but we feel we are leaving it in good hands."

He added The Pennington Midland currently had a turnover of £3.5 million and its renovation had been completed.

"I bought it to save it because, at the time, it was in a bad state and would have been destroyed the way many Bradford buildings have been destroyed. I feel as though I have saved it and now the building will last for 100 years."

He said he had done all he could at the hotel and it was time for another owner to expand the business.

The new owner, Mr Robert Peel, who heads the Peel Group, has given an assurance that the 130 full-time and casual staff will be kept on.

Mr Peel, who was with the Thistle Hotel Group in Leeds for 20 years, added: "After the building, the next important asset to any hotel is the staff."

The acquisition needs to win the approval of the Peel Hotel group's shareholders as the company was floated on the Alternative Investment Market in March. An extraordinary general meeting will be held on December 22 at which Mr Peel expects to win approval for the acquisition.

He will raise the cash through a bank loan and by placing shares on the market to raise nearly £2 million.

The 90-bedroom hotel is being sold along with its car park in Salem Street - a short walk from the building - boosting the car parking from 40 to 100 spaces.

Mr Peel plans to market the Midland as the best business hotel in Bradford and attract more convention and conference business. He said: "We know all the players in the convention and conference business. There are not many provincial hotels which have the space the Midland has."

The original waiting room of the former Midland railway company could be used to create an extension.

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