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

25 October 2023, 13:24

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
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. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

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.

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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.

A planning inspector visited the site last week and will publish her written report at a later date.

Planning Inspector Diane Fleming views the unauthorised spa pool block at the home of Hannah Ingram-Moore, the daughter of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore
Planning Inspector Diane Fleming views the unauthorised spa pool block at the home of Hannah Ingram-Moore, the daughter of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore. Picture: Alamy

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

Read More: 'One rule for us which doesn't apply to them': Neighbours hit out at Captain Tom's daughter over spa complex

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.

Last week 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”.

Hannah Ingram-Moore
Hannah Ingram-Moore. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Captain Tom Foundation set to close as daughter's lawyer admits it's 'unlikely to continue'

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

Planning inspector Diane 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.”

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 last Tuesday's Tuesday’s hearing.

Aerial view of Hannah ingram-Moore's house with the spa in the foreground
Aerial view of Hannah ingram-Moore's house with the spa in the foreground. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Captain Sir Tom Moore’s family appeals order to demolish 'unauthorised' spa pool in planning permission row

Captain Tom went raised more than £38m for the NHS as it battled against the coronavirus crisis and his family set up the Captain Tom Foundation charity in June 2020.

Shortly after his death in February 2021, the Charity Commission opened a probe into the foundation set up in his name.

The charity, which has run for over three years, is likely to close down following the investigation into its management after a hearing to decide the fate of the spa.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ingram-Moore admitted keeping £800,000 from the three books Captain Tom wrote before he died. She said it is what he would have wanted.

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