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Captain Tom’s daughter wants unauthorised spa pool to be used for ‘rehab sessions for the elderly’
17 October 2023, 12:13 | Updated: 17 October 2023, 12:49
The daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moore wants the unauthorised spa pool built at her home to be used for rehab sessions for elderly people.
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Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin applied in 2021 for permission to build a structure in the grounds of their Bedfordshire home.
The L-shaped building was approached but they built a larger C-shaped building containing a spa pool - and a demolition order was issued.
At a planning hearing today, Chartered surveyor James Paynter, 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."
He added: "There hasn't been any information provided to the council about the use of the spa."
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".
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.
Captain Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, Colin, were granted permission to build the Captain Tom Foundation Building on the grounds of their Bedfordshire home in 2021.
However, a retrospective application for a larger building with revisions, including a spa pool, was rejected by the council in November 2022.
Central Bedfordshire Council notified the family to demolish the “now-unauthorised building”.
The family argued that the revised building was “no more overbearing” than the one that was originally granted permission in 2021.
“The subject building is no more overbearing than the consented scheme,” Mr Ingram-Moore’s appeal statement read.
“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 hearing is expected to last one day with a decision published between four to six weeks later.
In the documents submitted for appeal, the family have also said the council had “no grounds supporting the refusal of the retrospective application”.
Sir Tom raised £38.9 million for the NHS at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020 by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. He died in February 2021.
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".
It also stated that the demolition requirement is not "excessive" and the "size and scale of the unauthorised building" has an adverse impact on the Ingram-Moores' neighbours.
Responding to allegations about her late father's charity millions, Hannah 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.
Ms Ingram-Moore said the money made went into Club Nook Ltd - a firm separate to the charity in his name.