THE new owners of a well-known and long-established local company have promised that business will continue as usual.

Moto Hospitality Ltd took over Leeming Bar Services on the A1(M) near Bedale for an undisclosed sum earlier this month.

It was originally set up in 1961 by Stanislaw Les, an expatriate Polish businessman and former soldier and on his death in 1988 was taken over by his son Carl Les, a prominent local councillor.

Following the sale Mr Les has stepped down from the company and the new owners have pledged all jobs are safe and the numbers could even grow.

Moto’s regional operations director Brian Larkin said: “I know there have been local rumours about what we plan to do with the site, but I want to say that nothing is about to change. Things will continue the way they always have been.”

The popular Benedict’s restaurant is an area of the business already targeted for growth by the company, Britain’s biggest operator of motorway service areas.

“We are well aware of the place that the restaurant holds in the hearts of the local community and we are very keen to make sure its popularity continues,” said Mr Larkin.

“The Sunday lunch carvery attracts a regular following and that is something we are keen to see grow.”

Mr Larkin pledged all bookings made before Moto bought Leeming would be honoured and that all existing management and staff will remain in place.

Chef executive Tim Moss added: “We believe that pursuing a policy of ‘business as usual’ will give us a solid foundation on which to build for our long-term plans to transform Leeming Bar into a modern motorway service area, permission for which was granted before we took over.”