'It's tarnished their reputation': Neighbours of Captain Tom’s family's relief as Ingram-Moores told to bulldoze spa

7 November 2023, 17:29 | Updated: 7 November 2023, 17:42

Hannah Ingram-Moore has been ordered to tear down a spa complex
Hannah Ingram-Moore has been ordered to tear down a spa complex. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

The neighbours of Captain Tom Moore's family are relieved that his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore has been ordered to demolish the controversial luxury spa complex built in his name.

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A woman living next to the spa, which was built without permission, said the family had been "deceitful", while another neighbour agreed that it was good that the complex had to be bulldozed.

The planning inspectorate ruled on Tuesday that the complex will have to be demolished within three months, and the family will need to remove all building materials and restore the land to its "former condition". They now have six weeks to appeal the decision.

The celebrated fundraiser's daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband had appealed against a demolition order by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Jilly Bozdogan, a neighbour whose garden backs onto the family's unauthorised spa complex, said the affair had "tarnished their reputation".

She added: "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."

Neighbour Jilly Bozdogan
Neighbour Jilly Bozdogan. Picture: Alamy

Ms Bozdogan told the Mail: "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."

Ms Bozdogan added: "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."

Jean Harrison, a second neighbour, said the building looked "dreadful" from her house.

"It's made of breeze block," she said. "It is good it has to come down."

The spa with Captain Tom's family home in the background
The spa with Captain Tom's family home in the background. Picture: Alamy

The family had applied for permission to build the spa in the grounds of their home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.

They had been given the green light for a L-shaped building but the planning authority refused a retrospective application in 2022 for a larger C-shaped building containing the spa.

Read More: Captain Tom Moore's son-in-law's companies 'go bust owing £3.7 million in taxes and to small businesses'

Read More: Woman who helped launch the Captain Sir Tom Moore charity appeal says she was silenced by Hannah Ingram-Moore

Central Bedfordshire Council said in July that an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the 'now-unauthorised building' was issued.

The Planning Inspectorate of Central Bedfordshire Council have now dismissed the appeal after a hearing last month. 

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 Tom Moore, with (left to right) grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia
Captain Tom Moore, with (left to right) grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia. Picture: Alamy

Richard Procter, the principal planning enforcement officer for the council, said the building had been approved approved because the public benefit outweighed the harm on balance.

He said that there had been "no information given to the council about the use of the spa."

Captain Tom became a national treasure during the first Covid lockdown when he vowed to walk 100 laps of his garden, raising more than £38million for NHS charities.

He later went on to release three books and was knighted by the late-Queen, but passed away in early 2021 of pneumonia and Covid.

During last month's appeal hearing, it was heard how plans for the building in its current state would have never been approved.

Planning Inspector Diane Fleming views the unauthorised spa pool block at the home of Hannah Ingram-Moore
Planning Inspector Diane Fleming views the unauthorised spa pool block at the home of Hannah Ingram-Moore. Picture: Alamy

Read More: 'Monstrosity' and an 'eyesore': Neighbours views of Captain Tom's daughter's controversial spa block

Read More: Captain Tom’s daughter wants unauthorised spa pool to be used for ‘rehab sessions for the elderly’

Neighbours described it as a "monstrosity" and an "eyesore", although these claims, according to the family's lawyer, were an exaggeration.

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."

The family argued the spa could be used by the elderly as part of its charitable purpose to "tackle loneliness".

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