Captain Tom Moore's family LOSE planning application appealNovember 7, 2023
Captain Tom Moore’s family LOSE planning application appeal against demolition of unauthorised spa pool complex at their £1.2m home
The family of Captain Tom Moore today lost a planning application appeal against the demolition of an unauthorised home spa in their garden.
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 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.
Central Bedfordshire Council said in July that an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the ‘now-unauthorised building’ was issued.
At a planning hearing last month, the Ingram-Moores claimed the building would be used for rehabilitation sessions for local elderly people. But officials have dismissed the appeal and given the couple three months to demolish the building.
Inspector Diane Fleming said 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.
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
The luxury spa pool was not part of the original plans for the building that the couple asked permission for
It was believed the new building would be a community space to store thousands of cards and gifts sent by admirers. But neighbours were aghast when a larger, luxury spa with a pool and sauna appeared.
Barry Shaw said the C-shaped building that overlooks his home in Woburn Road is 49 per cent bigger than the L-shaped building that was granted permission.
He said: ‘The consent given was 5 metres from our property. Now it is 2.9 metres away. Why has it been so much closer to our fence? The building is 49 per cent bigger.’
Mr Shaw said the new building is also 450 per cent bigger than the average houses in Banks Close, where there are pensioners’ bungalows.
He went on: ‘We are particularly frustrated that the whole area of the property (The Old Rectory) is 14,500 sq metres and they chose to build it directly at the bottom of our gardens. ‘
Council planners say they new building was not what was intended and have ordered the couple to pull it down, issuing a ‘now unauthorised building’ notice.
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.
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
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.
He said the building was unfinished and had not be cladded as work stopped because of the council’s enforcement order.
The Inspector Diane Fleming visited the spa building and the neighbouring properties. Her decision on whether the building should be torn down is expected in a few weeks.
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.
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.
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’
Ms Ingram-Moore and her husband now have three months to knock down the spa building
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.
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.
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
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.
READ MORE – PR worker who helped launch Captain Tom’s charity walk appeal says she was ‘cut out’ by his family and daughter Hannah
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.
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.
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
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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