Spa block in Captain Tom’s daughter’s garden is an eyesore, says neighbour

A neighbour of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter has described the spa block in their garden as an ‘eyesore’ (Joe Giddens/PA)
A neighbour of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter has described the spa block in their garden as an ‘eyesore’ (Joe Giddens/PA)

A neighbour of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter has described the spa block in their garden as an “eyesore”, after an inspector made a site visit to understand the impact on locals.

Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin applied in 2021 for permission to construct 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 C-shaped building containing a spa pool.

The council ordered that the spa block be demolished, with an appeal lodged against this decision.

The Secretary of State-appointed inspector who is overseeing the appeal, Diane Fleming, held a hearing at Central Bedfordshire Council on Tuesday and also travelled to Marston Moretaine for a site visit.

Her written decision will be published at a later date.

Captain Tom Foundation charity watchdog probe
Jilly Bozdogan’s garden backs on to the unauthorised spa pool block at the home of Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ms Fleming was shown the views that neighbours have of the spa block – including from the garden of retired credit manager Jilly Bozdogan.

Afterwards, Ms Bozdogan described the building as a “bit of a monstrosity”.

“Until this went up it was completely conifers,” said the 69-year-old.

“I think it’s a complete eyesore.

“I’ve planted trees to try to block it out.”

She said her 99-year-old mother sits in the room looking out on to her garden and “cries most of the time”.

Ms Fleming said during the hearing in the council chambers that the spa block was “substantially complete” when the council issued a demolition notice in November 2022.

She said the C-shaped building is on a disused tennis court.

Richard Proctor, planning enforcement team leader for Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Yes, the tennis court wasn’t ideal but it was significantly less harmful than the building.

“The original building that was approved was because of public good outweighing harm.”

He added: “There hasn’t been any information provided to the council about the use of the spa.”

Captain Tom Foundation charity watchdog probe
An aerial view of Colin and Hannah Ingram-Moore’s home (Joe Giddens/PA)

The inspector noted that the built structure includes a spa pool and “the council say if that balancing exercise was carried out again the balance would be different”.

A document supporting the initial planning application for an L-shaped building said it was to be used partly “in connection with the Captain Tom Foundation and its charitable objectives”.

Barrister Scott Stemp, for the appellants, said the C-shaped building is unfinished but will have the “appearance of a subservient building”.

He told Ms Fleming: “What you are realistically assessing is the difference between the consented scheme and the as-built scheme.”

Chartered surveyor James Paynter, also for the appellants, said the building would offer the “opportunity for people to meet on a coffee morning basis – that’s probably not going to be more than once a month, like a church opening up for a coffee morning for Macmillan”.

“There’s going to be the opportunity to open the garden – we’ve heard the garden will open once per year for a fete,” he said.

He added that there would also be space in the building for creating podcasts.

Mr Stemp said “memorabilia is going to be kept” at the building, but added: “I don’t think it’s ever been said it was intended to house all of the memorabilia there.”

Ms Ingram-Moore did not respond to questions from reporters as she left Tuesday’s hearing.