Spa pool at home of Captain Tom’s daughter ‘could be used for rehab sessions’

An appeal against the demolition of a spa block at the home Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter is being heard (Joe Giddens/PA)
An appeal against the demolition of a spa block at the home Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter is being heard (Joe Giddens/PA)

Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter attended an appeal hearing against the demolition of a spa pool block at her home, as a representative said the facility could be used for rehabilitation sessions for the elderly.

Hannah Ingram-Moore and her 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 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.

An appeal against the demolition notice was made to the Planning Inspectorate.

Ms Ingram-Moore, her husband and their son Benji sat together behind their four representatives as inspector Diane Fleming, appointed by the Secretary of State, heard the appeal on Tuesday.

Hannah Ingram-Moore
Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moor, is appealing against the demolition of a spa block in the grounds of her home (Jacob King/PA)

The family listened to proceedings in the council chamber of Central Bedfordshire Council in Chicksands, with Mr Ingram-Moore occasionally passing notes forward to his representatives.

Ms Ingram-Moore, sitting in the middle of the three, occasionally glanced at a tablet computer.

Inspector Ms Fleming said that, when the council issued a demolition notice in November 2022, the C-shaped building, on a disused tennis court, was “substantially complete”.

Chartered surveyor James Paynter, for the appellants, said the scheme had “evolved” to include the spa pool.

“It was felt that a larger building could provide this extra space for this extra facility going forward,” he said.

“The spa pool has the opportunity to offer rehabilitation sessions for elderly people in the area.

“They want to offer one-to-one sessions, only on a once or twice per week basis.

“They felt this extra limb to create a C-shape was needed to create this facility.”

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.”

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”.

Spa block at Captain Tom's daughter's home
An appeal against the demolition of the C-shaped spa block was made to the Planning Inspectorate (Joe Giddens/PA)

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.”

Around half a dozen neighbours attended the meeting, with one arguing that the building is “49% bigger than what was consented” and is close to his property, adding: “It’s very brutal.”

In a written appeal statement, Mr Ingram-Moore said the heights of the approved and built buildings “are the same”.

The inspector indicated she would make a site visit, accompanied by representatives for the appellants and for the council.

A written decision is to be published at a later date, weeks after the one-day hearing.

Sir Tom raised £38.9 million for the NHS, including Gift Aid, by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020.

He was knighted by the late Queen during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer 2020.

He died in February 2021.