The “spiritual home” of fish and chips will be saved after a Yorkshire firm confirmed it is taking over the iconic Harry Ramsden’s restaurant.

Phillip Murphy, founder of the Wetherby Whaler group, says it would have been a “national scandal” had the site in White Cross, Guiseley, been allowed to close permanently.

It comes after Boparan Ventures, which owns the Harry Ramsden’s brand, announced it was closing the flagship site, which opened in 1931, with the loss of 24 jobs.

However £500,000 will now be spent refurbishing the restaurant into the Wetherby Whaler group’s flagship branch.

Mr Murphy said: “The famous fish and chip restaurant in Guiseley is the spiritual home of fish and chips in England.

“It would be a national scandal if it were to close at this time of economic uncertainly.

“Our investment has saved a Yorkshire landmark and will ensure the tradition of fine fish and chips continues at this important location.

“The new Wetherby Whaler in Guiseley will be our flagship restaurant. We expect it to recapture the atmosphere and flavours of Harry Ramsden’s best years.

“We are confident that with the right investment, careful attention to detail, great tasting fish and chips and excellent value-for-money we will make a lasting success of this new venture and return the restaurant to its glory days.

“Our family-owned business is built on solid foundations and this has given us the confidence to invest. It fits perfectly with our business strategy of controlled growth and accentuates our belief that Yorkshire is a great place to do business.”

Restoration work will include updating the restaurant’s famous chandeliers and Harry Ramsden’s original serving hut will remain.

The Wetherby Whaler group has more than 200 employees in four branches in Wetherby, Pudsey, York and Wakefield.

It was started when Phillip and Janine Murphy bought the original restaurant in Wetherby in 1989. A second generation of the Murphy family is now involved – daughters Joanne and Caroline.

Mr Murphy bought his first fish and chip shop in Tadcaster in 1969.