The owner of Bradford’s historic Midland Hotel has been hit by overhanging bank interest charges and a collapse in corporate bookings during the recession.

In a year which saw the Peel Hotels group suffer a £74,000 pre-tax loss, the Midland – which in 2008 bucked difficult trading conditions – had been one of the worst-performing of the group’s nine UK hotels.

Chairman Robert Peel also said business at the Midland had not been helped by Bradford’s “dirty and litter-strewn” streets. He called on the Council to follow the example of Paris, where the streets were washed and litter cleared daily “If you’ve got a dirty city then no-one will want to visit,” he said.

Mr Peel said commercial business in the year to February 7 had been “dead on its feet”, although private bookings had held up better than at some other hotel groups, with food and beverage business improving.

In spite of the tough year and a decision to cut back on capital spending in 2010, Mr Peel remains committed to the Midland where the ‘DIY’ refurbishment using the hotel’s own staff would continue.

So far more than 50 bedrooms have been upgraded, and Mr Peel said after another dozen were completed the hotel should qualify for four stars.

Work will also continue on refurbishing the hotel’s central well along with external improvements, including new windows and work on the roof.

Peel Hotels’ turnover increased by 11.5 per cent in 2009 to £14,2m. Operating profit for the full year was £790,980 (2009: £907,095).

On a like-for-like basis Peel lost £524,240 of accommodation revenue and this had a significant impact on the year-end results. After a “disappointing” year no dividend is being paid.