Unauthorized Home Spa Faces Demolition
Neighbors of Captain Tom Moore’s family in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, have welcomed a decision by authorities to order the demolition of an unapproved home spa.
The family, including Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin, had initially sought permission for a building related to the Captain Tom Foundation.
However, a retrospective application for a larger spa-containing structure was denied, leading to an enforcement notice.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Ruling
Central Bedfordshire Council issued an enforcement notice in July, requiring the demolition of the unapproved building.
The decision came after neighbors and planning authorities raised concerns about the structure’s impact on the surroundings and the Grade II-listed family home, The Old Rectory.
Neighbors expressed relief at the ruling and criticized the handling of the situation, referring to it as “deceitful.” They believed that the family’s reputation had been damaged as a result of the building’s construction.
Council’s Stance on Heritage Preservation
Councillor Mary Walsh, responsible for planning and development at Central Bedfordshire Council, emphasized the council’s duty to protect heritage assets like The Old Rectory.
She stated that enforcement action was necessary to maintain the appearance and setting of such assets.
Appeal and Potential High Court Challenge
The Ingram-Moore family has six weeks to appeal the decision at the High Court. While the initial planning application indicated the building’s intended use for charitable activities related to the Captain Tom Foundation, council planners argued that it deviated from the original purpose.
Building’s Initial Intention
The family had initially planned to use the building for coffee mornings, rehabilitation sessions for the elderly, and as a space to store cards and gifts from admirers. However, the building’s construction diverged from the approved plans.
Ruling by Inspector Diane Fleming
Inspector Diane Fleming dismissed the appeal, citing the harm caused by the “scale and massing” of the unapproved building to The Old Rectory. She concluded that the appeal had failed.
Controversy Over Use of Captain Tom’s Legacy
The controversy surrounding Captain Tom Moore’s family also extends to the use of funds generated from his legacy.
While the family had claimed that the profits from his books would go to them, the prologue of his autobiography suggested that he intended to raise money for charitable causes.
Impact on the Captain Tom Foundation
The family’s handling of the situation has led to calls for them to return funds received from Captain Tom’s legacy, including the profits from his books.
Questions have arisen regarding the family’s use of these funds for personal gain.
Building Costs and Maytrix Group’s Involvement
The cost of the spa and pool complex is estimated to be in the region of £200,000, according to local estate agents. The family admitted that they hope to win an appeal to retain the structure.
Additionally, Maytrix Group, a family firm, has faced scrutiny for its receipt of furlough cash and Covid loans during the pandemic.
Discrepancies Over Charitable Donations
Captain Tom Moore’s family mentioned that people buying the books were not informed that their money would go to charity.
However, the prologue of his autobiography suggested that he saw the books as a means to raise more money for a charitable foundation in his name.
Family’s Public Response
The family acknowledged that they should have handled matters differently but has not yet agreed to return any funds. They also discussed the purpose of the building and its intended use for charitable activities and events.