Neighbours' relief as Tom Moore's daughter ordered to tear down spa
‘It was deceitful and they knew exactly what they were doing’: Neighbours’ relief as Captain Tom Moore’s daughter is ordered to tear down £200,000 spa pool complex at £1.2m home – but her family could appeal decision
Neighbours have expressed their relief after the family of Captain Tom Moore were today ordered to demolish an unauthorised home spa in the garden of their home after losing a planning application appeal.
Hannah Ingram-Moore, 53, and her 66-year-old husband, Colin, applied in 2021 for permission to build a Captain Tom Foundation Building in the grounds of their £1.2million home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.
The L-shaped building was given the green light, but the planning authority refused a subsequent retrospective application in 2022 for a larger £200,000 C-shaped building containing a spa pool.
But Central Bedfordshire Council said in July that an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the ‘now-unauthorised building’ was issued.
Officials have now dismissed an appeal against its demolition, with inspector Diane Fleming saying the ‘scale and massing’ of the new building – which has not been finished – ‘resulted in harm’ to The Old Rectory, the Grade II-listed family home.
Neighbours of the 2,200 sq ft annexe today welcomed the decision – and said the ‘deceitful’ handling of the situation had further damaged the family’s reputation after a series of PR disasters.
Captain Sir Tom Moore and his daughter Hannah in 2020 after he completed 100 laps of his garden during lockdown, raising millions for the NHS
Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband, Colin, built the spa complex in the grounds of their £1.2million home. Pictured: the family’s home and spa complex on Tuesday
Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore at the gate of her home earlier todayafter losing a planning appeal against the demolition of the spa complex
The luxury spa pool was not part of the original plans for the building that the couple asked permission for
Neighbour Jill Bozdogan, 69, told the Mail: ‘If they had applied for that in their own names, I don’t think they’d have got permission. In my opinion, it was deceitful and I think they knew exactly what they were doing.
‘From conversations I’ve had in my village, it’s really tarnished their reputation. I’d like to think it hasn’t had any effect on Captain Tom or what he did for the NHS but this whole fiasco is another matter.’
‘The sooner they tear it down the better. It doesn’t blend in with the two original buildings. For me it was something you can see from all my back windows – upstairs and downstairs. Every time I went into the garden it makes me so cross.
READ MORE – What has happened to Captain Tom’s legacy? How hero’s family pocketed £800k in book sales, his daughter earned £85,000 salary
‘It does nothing for the surroundings here. My mum is 99 and lives with me. She liked to go and sit in the garden, but she rarely does now because of that building.’
Another neighbour Jean Harrison, 80, added: ‘It looks dreadful from here. It’s made of breeze block. It is good it has to come down.’
Cllr Mary Walsh, who is responsible for planning and development at Central Bedfordshire Council, said the authority had ‘a duty to protect the appearance and setting of heritage assets such as The Old Rectory’.
She added: ‘We will always take robust enforcement action when it is appropriate to do so.
‘Our next steps are to monitor compliance with the enforcement notice and expect the building to be demolished within three months, as set out in the inspector’s decision.’
The Ingram-Moores have six weeks to appeal against the ruling at the High Court.
The planning application for the annexe indicated it would be used as office space for the Captain Tom Foundation.
The family had also claimed the building would be used for coffee mornings and rehabilitation sessions for local elderly people. It was also believed it would be a community space to store thousands of cards and gifts sent by admirers.
Council planners say the new building was not what was intended and have ordered the couple to pull it down, issuing a ‘now unauthorised building’ notice.
Permission to go ahead with the original plans was granted by the council in August 2021
However neighbours said that the C-shaped building on Woburn Road is 49 per cent bigger than the plans that were approved
The family claimed the building would be used for coffee mornings, rehabilitation sessions for local elderly people and as a community space to store thousands of cards and gifts sent by admirers
The Ingram-Moores said the plan was never for the building housing the spa pool to be ‘The Captain Tom Foundation’ building – but a planning statement explicitly referred to the building as such, and stated it was to be used for ‘charitable objectives’
Richard Procter, the Principal Planning Enforcement Officer at Central Beds Council said the original building was approved because of the balance of public benefit outweighed the harm.
He went on: ‘The scheme was for storing the cards. There has been no information given to the council about the use of the spa. ‘
Scott Stemp, the barrister representing the Ingram-Moore family said the old tennis court had fallen in disrepair. He said the intention had to be store a selection of memorabilia and associated items – not to store all the memorabilia.
READ MORE – PR worker who helped launch Captain Tom’s charity walk appeal says she was ‘cut out’ by his family and daughter Hannah
He said the building was unfinished and had not be cladded as work stopped because of the council’s enforcement order.
Ms Fleming visited the spa building and the neighbouring properties prior to her decision.
In documents appealing against the notice, the family said the building was ‘no more overbearing’ than a previously approved planning application and the ‘heights are the same’.
The appeal statement by Colin Ingram-Moore said: ‘The subject building is no more overbearing than the consented scheme.
‘The view is virtually identical save for a pitch roof being added to the elevational treatment. The heights are the same. As such there cannot be an unacceptable overbearing impact.’
The couple also said the council had ‘no grounds supporting the refusal of the retrospective application’ and ‘requested’ the inspector to uphold the appeal.
The council said its reports ‘detail harm caused to the setting of the listed building and, in particular, the significant difference between the two schemes that arises from the lack of sufficient public benefit that has been proposed in respect of the unauthorised building’.
Documents from the local government body also state the demolition requirement is not ‘excessive’ and the ‘size and scale of the unauthorised building’ has an adverse impact on neighbours.
Neighbours of the 2,200 sq ft annexe today welcomed the decision – and said the ‘deceitful’ handling of the situation had further damaged the family’s reputation
One neighbour Jill Bozdogan, 70, whose home is overlooked by the spa, said the sooner the spa complex (pictured behind the family’s house) is torn down ‘the better’
The Ingram-Moores have six weeks to appeal against the ruling to demolish the complex at the High Court
The couple used the name of the Captain Tom Foundation when the plans were first lodged. Permission to go ahead was granted in August 2021, but the charity said it had no knowledge of the proposal.
They say the building which is estimated to have cost £200,000, was paid for with their own money.
Asked by the inspector how much of the building would be used for the family’s charitable work in connection with Captain Sir Moore, Mr Stemp said it was in the region of a two-thirds, one-thirds split. The plan is to allow groups to come and have older people to get people to talk to each other, he said.
On behalf of the Ingram-Moores, James Paynter, a surveyor, said the building would be used for a coffee morning environment. ‘The family want to get people to talk to each other.’
He said the scheme had evolved to include the spa. ‘The spa pool has the opportunity to offer rehabilitation sessions for elderly people in the area. They want to offer one to one session, on a once or twice per week basis.’
But another elderly woman resident told the inspector: ‘The village is extremely well served.’ She said there were two cafes and sheltered accommodation where elderly people can meet.
For the council, Mr Procter said: ‘The Spa takes up as a good part of the building. I am struggling with the concept that it is there for the public good. ‘
He said if it was to be used by the public there would be a need for proper planning and permission.
In her ruling Ms Fleming said: ‘At the time of the former, the Council understood the use of the building was to be mostly in connection with the CTF. Mr Ingram-Moore (son-in-law of Captain Tom) is a trustee of the CTF and at the time Mrs Ingram-Moore (Captain Tom’s daughter) was the interim Chief Executive Officer.
‘The Council had concerns about the size of the building but in the planning balance exercise this was outweighed by the public benefits.
‘These benefits were that the building would be used for much needed ‘charitable purposes’ and that it was ‘urgently required to facilitate Foundation activities, including presentations to the press and TV.’
She went on: ‘The scale and massing of the building has resulted in harm to The Old Rectory which I find suggested conditions would not overcome. I therefore conclude that the appeal on ground (a) fails.’
The amount of cash raked in by Captain Moore’s family off the back of his £39million fundraising legacy was laid bare last month – amid growing calls for them to give it back.
Ms Ingram-Moore and her husband now have three months to knock down the spa building
Captain Tom Moore’s family have been handed money from various routes, including from three of his books
Captain Sir Tom Moore went on to write three books under a deal with Penguin Random House that has earned his family more than £800,000
Hannah Ingram-Moore confessed and broke down in tears in an interview with Piers Morgan, who declared that holding on to the money was ‘deeply unethical and a betrayal’ of her father’s legacy.
Ms Ingram-Moore told TalkTV that Sir Tom wanted them to get the profits from his three books, pocketing £800,000 in the process.
However, the prologue of his autobiography calls this claim into question and suggests the veteran thought his books were just another way for him to raise cash for good causes.
Crying, she told Mr Morgan: ‘These were my father’s books, and it was honestly such a joy for him to write them, but they were his books.
‘He had an agent and they worked on that deal, and his wishes were…’ Mr Morgan interjected: ‘For you to keep?’, and she responded: ‘Yes. Specifically’.
In an emotionally-charged interview Ms Ingram-Moore’s family suggested she had been suicidal and they had suffered death threats.
But following their admissions, the Sir Captain Tom Moore Twitter account was inundated with messages from people who donated, demanding the family give the cash back.
Ms Ingram-Moore’s husband Colin told Mr Morgan: ‘We should have done it in a different way’ – but the family has so far refused to return any cash.
Ms Ingram-Moore also broke her silence on the £85,000 salary she earned as interim CEO of the Captain Tom Foundation. She also received £7,602 in expense payments for travel and administration between June 2021 and November 2022.
She further admitted she was paid £18,000 for attending the Virgin Media O2 Captain Tom Foundation Connector Awards in 2021 – when already being paid as chief executive of the body.
The money was paid to her family firm, Maytrix Group, and she banked £16,000, donating just £2,000 to the Captain Tom Foundation.
Captain Tom Moore on holiday in Barbados at the end of 2020 with grandchildren Benji and Georgia, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin
Maytrix Group has already been pilloried for taking up to £100,000 in furlough cash and £47,500 in Covid loans during the pandemic.
The family also opened up about their regret over building a controversial spa and pool complex at their mansion – but confessed that they are hoping to win an appeal to keep it nevertheless.
Rising building costs mean the price of the office and spa complex could have been in the region of £200,000, according to two local estate agents who spoke to the Mail in July.
Ms Ingram-Moore said her father wanted them to keep the profits from his three books: Captain Tom’s Life Lessons, One Hundred Steps and his autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.
The family is also adamant that people buying the books were never told their money was going to charity.
However, the prologue of his autobiography reads: ‘Astonishingly at my age, with the offer to write this memoir I have also been given the chance to raise even more money for the charitable foundation now established in my name.’
Discussing his books, which were written before his death aged 100, Ms Ingram-Moore said the money made went into Club Nook Ltd – a firm separate to the charity in his name.
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