Captain Tom Moore’s family has defended an oversized spa pool complex at their home due to be demolished, saying it could provide rehabilitation sessions for elderly people.
A council appeal hearing on Tuesday heard how Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, Colin, applied in 2021 for permission to build a Captain Tom Foundation building on the grounds of their Bedfordshire home.
An L-shaped building was approved, but the couple chose to build a larger C-shaped building containing a spa pool. When they submitted a retrospective application in 2022, the planning authority refused.
Central Bedfordshire Borough Council has called for the “now unauthorized building” to be demolished, which the family has appealed against.
Ingram-Moore, her husband and their son sat behind their four representatives as Inspector Diane Fleming, appointed by the Secretary of State, heard the appeal in the Central Bedfordshire council chamber.
Around six neighbors were at the meeting, with one arguing the building was “49% bigger than agreed” and was close to his property, adding: “It’s very brutal” .
Chartered land surveyor James Paynter, on behalf of the appellants, said the project had “evolved” to include the thermal pool.
He said: “It was felt that a larger building could provide this additional space for this additional facility in the future. The thermal swimming pool has the possibility of offering rehabilitation sessions to elderly people in the region.
“They want to offer individual sessions, only once or twice a week. They felt that this extra member to create a C shape was necessary to create this installation.
In a written statement of appeal, Ingram-Moore said the heights of the approved and constructed buildings were the same.
A document supporting the initial planning application for an L-shaped building said it would be used partly “in connection with the Captain Tom Foundation and its charitable objectives”.
Lawyer Scott Stemp, on behalf of the appellants, said the C-shaped building was unfinished but would have “the appearance of a subordinate building”, meaning it would not overwhelm the design of the original house. He said it was up to the inspector to assess “the difference between the approved project and the as-built project.”
Fleming noted that the structure built included a thermal pool and “the council says if this balancing act were repeated the balance would be different.”
She said she would conduct a site visit, accompanied by representatives of the appellants and the board, and issue a written decision weeks after the one-day hearing.
Moore raised £38.9 million for the NHS, including Gift Aid, by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020. He died in February 2021.