Watch: Spa complex illegally built by Captain Tom's daughter is finally pulled down
These before and after pictures show the now-demolished unauthorised building that houses a spa at the home of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Demolition workers arrived at the property in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire last week and new images show how the building is now lying in rubble. Workers could be seen removing scaffolding before the arrival of a digger, which ripped off wood and other debris from the £200,000 building’s roof and knocked down its brick walls.
A crane had previously lifted the spa pool from the £1.2m property belonging to Moore’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin, on Friday after preparation for the demolition had started last week.
Following a hearing in October, planners said the unauthorised building didn't have planning permission. Despite Ingram-Moore's objections, a ruling was made in November for the spa to be demolished within three months.
The family had been given six weeks to appeal the decision, but the deadline passed last week. A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said they would be "reviewing the onsite position on 8 February, 2024".
Yahoo News UK examines the battle over the spa pool and the other controversies involving Ingram-Moore.
What was the planning row?
Initially, Central Bedfordshire Council granted permission for the L-shaped Captain Tom Foundation Building to be constructed after plans were submitted by the Ingram-Moores in August 2021.
In a design and access and heritage statement, it was described to be used partly "in connection with The Captain Tom Foundation and its charitable objectives".
However, the couple submitted revised plans for the already partly constructed building on the tennis courts at their Grade II-listed home in February 2022.
The revised plans for the "Captain Tom Building" included a spa pool, toilets and a kitchen for "private use".
The council refused the retrospective planning permission for the revised plans in November 2022 and local residents signed a petition calling the structure "ugly, featureless, overbearing, oversized and completely out of character".
In July last year, Central Bedfordshire Council issued an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the "now-unauthorised building" and said it was subject to an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
In documents appealing against the demolition, the Ingram-Moores said the building was “no more overbearing” than the previously approved planning application and the “heights are the same”.
Ingram-Moore has said no charity money has been used in the construction of the new building.
During a hearing in October, chartered surveyor James Paynter, for the appellants, said the spa pool had “the opportunity to offer rehabilitation sessions for elderly people in the area”.
On 7 November, the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the family's appeal against the demolition of the unauthorised spa pool block. Inspector Diane Fleming ruled the block must be demolished within three months, by 7 February. Her written decision concluded the “scale and massing” of the building had resulted in harm to the Grade II-listed Old Rectory – the family’s home.
In January, a deadline for the family to mount a High Court challenge passed without a claim being made.
How did this all start?
Captain Tom raised £38.9m, including gift aid, for the NHS, by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national coronavirus lockdown in April 2020.
He was knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer 2020. He died in February 2021 with coronavirus.
The money raised from Captain Tom's walks was managed and distributed by NHS Charities Together, who said it was used to find "thousands of projects" and provide mental health support for NHS staff, as well as equipment and support for patients. NHS Charities Together has stressed that it is a "completely separate organisation" to The Captain Tom Foundation, which was established in June 2020.
The Captain Tom Foundation
Ingram-Moore and her husband became trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation in February 2021, the same month her father died.
In February 2022, the Charity Commission announced it would be reviewing the accounts of the Captain Tom Foundation after it gave grants of £160,000 to four charities in its first year but paid out more than £162,000 in management costs in the same period. Reimbursement costs were also paid to Club Nook Limited, a company run by Ingram-Moore set up shortly before the charity.
In June 2022, the commission said it had launched an inquiry into the foundation over concerns Captain Tom's family may have profited from using his name.
In August 2023, BBC's Newsnight programme reported that thousands of pounds were paid to Maytrix Group, a company owned by the Ingram-Moores, for appearances she made in connection with the Captain Tom Foundation, and not to the charity itself, despite her being the foundation's interim chief executive at the time on an annual salary of £85,000.
In an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV in October last year, Ingram-Moore said she was paid £18,000 for attending the Virgin Media O2 Captain Tom Foundation Connector Awards in 2021 – when already being paid as chief executive of the body.
The money was paid to her family firm, Maytrix Group, and she received £16,000, donating £2,000 to the Captain Tom Foundation, she said.
In July 2023, the Captain Tom Foundation announced that it was not actively seeking donations or making payments.
It said it will "ensure that it co-operates fully with the ongoing statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission". A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: “Our inquiry into the Captain Tom Foundation remains ongoing.
"Its scope includes examining mismanagement or misconduct which may have led to any financial losses to the charity and whether the trustees have adequately managed conflicts of interest, including with private companies connected to the Ingram-Moore family.”
Captain Tom's books
In October 2023, Ingram-Moore told TalkTV that her family kept £800,000 in profits from Captain Tom's three books because it was "what he wanted".
She said her father wanted them to keep the money from the books in Club Nook Limited, adding there was no suggestion that anyone buying the books thought they were donating to charity. “They were my father’s books. He wrote them and he decided what to do with the income from them. It was his wishes, not ours," she said. "He made the decision about the things that he did. We didn’t act for him.”
But in the prologue to his autobiography, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day, which was published in 2020, Captain Tom had written: "With the offer to write this memoir I have also been given the chance to raise even more money." Ingram-Moore also said the family had received death threats.