Captain Tom Moore’s family say home spa complex is ‘used for charitable purposes’
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin began construction after they were granted permission to build a ‘Captain Tom Building’ on tennis courts, next to their Grade II listed seven-bedroom home in the village of Marston Moretaine.
They said the building would be a home office used by people working for The Captain Tom Foundation and used to store her father’s memorabilia, according to Central Bedfordshire Council.
But when planning officers visited the site, they found “the intended use of the building is an ancillary outbuilding including spa pool” and said “the windows were covered, and access to the inside of the building was not possible”.
Mrs Ingram-Moore, a former trustee and chief executive of the foundation, and her husband submitted a retrospective planning application, but it was refused.
The council stated the “unsympathetic and dominating structure” will "appear out of keeping with the character of the area and disproportionate to the scale of the existing dwellinghouse”.
The couple were then hit with an enforcement notice, ordering them to demolish the building, but they lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate which is due to hold an inquiry.
In a statement, they said the development does “not cause substantial harm” to the surrounding area and “it will be outweighed by the public benefits which are that the building will be used for charitable purposes directly linked to the current and former occupation of the house.”
They added: “The subject building is no more overbearing than the consented scheme. 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. There are no grounds supporting the refusal.”
A foundation spokeswoman has said independent trustees were not aware of a planning application “purporting to be in the foundation’s name” and would not have authorised it.
The council said there are "significant differences" between the approved plans and the building that was constructed, and a demolition order is not “excessive".
Captain Tom became a hero during the first Covid lockdown in 2020 after raising £38.9m for the NHS by walking around his garden. The ex-Army officer from Keighley was knighted for his efforts prior to his death in 2021, aged 100.
Last year, The Charity Commission launched an investigation into the foundation’s arrangements with a business, called Club Nook Limited, which is linked to his daughter and her husband.
It previously told the foundation it should not appoint Ms Ingram-Moore as the permanent chief executive on a salary of £100,000 because it was “neither reasonable nor justifiable”.
The foundation has said it will not accept any donations until the inquiry has been completed.