Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter launches appeal to save 'Captain Tom' pool house

An overhead shot of the plot shows a tennis court surrounded by trees and a main house with a driveway
Captain Tom's daughter has appealed a decision from Central Bedfordshire council for a building she put up on the old tennis court at her father's home (Image credit: Google Earth)

Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter has appealed against a demolition notice for a spa pool complex outbuilding to her £1.2 million house.

Hannah Ingram-Moore, 52, had originally been granted planning permission to build a single-storey building next to her Grade II-listed house, The Old Rectory, in Bedford.

However, she was later forced to apply for retrospective planning permission as the building was not what was proposed in the initial plans.

The retrospective planning was rejected due to not being in-keeping with the design of the area and a demolition notice was given by the council. She has now appealed this decision.

Home surrounded by medieval moat

The property in question serves as both the residence of the applicants and the late Captain Tom Moore and is set in a historic area.

The village where The Old Rectory is located has three medieval moated sites, one of which partially surrounds former Clergy house. The red brick house was built in the 18th century with clay tiled roofs.

In 2012 the property was put up for sale at an asking price of £1,500,000 and was advertised as having four reception rooms, seven bedrooms and four bathrooms.

The tennis court used to be positioned at the western edge of The Old Rectory's curtilage, to the west of the moat, and next to an existing 1.8m high laurel hedge.

Originals plans for charity and domestic use

The original proposals for the site was to replace the tennis court in the south-west of the application site with a single-storey detached building.

The building plans had a L-shaped floor plan, with a traditional flat roof and it was claimed: "The Proposed Use of the Building is confirmed as for purposes incidental to the existing dwelling including private domestic use, interviews, and charity functions."

It is unclear whether the new pool building retained these functions.

Although the building's purpose is primarily for activities related to the main house, and so would normally fall under permitted development right, it falls within the curtilage of a Listed Building, and so required planning approval.

It was also proposed that a path would be formed from the existing house to the outbuilding. The proposals also called for a laurel hedge to be removed.

These proposals were approved by Central Bedfordshire Council in November 2021.

Captain Tom Moore with his daughter waving

The plans for the extension were supposedly for "private domestic use, interviews, and charity functions" (Image credit: Getty)

Demolition notice given for spa pool complex

Instead of the original plans, the daughter of Captain Tom Moore, Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, Colin, erected a spa pool complex.

The couple were forced to apply for retrospective planning permission to alter their plans or face having to tear down the building. The revised building plans had a C-shaped floor plan for spa pool complex with a length of 21m and 15m width. 

The building plans included a 3m internal ceiling height, with a traditional pitched roof in order to be sympathetic to the setting of the listed building.

It was ruled by the Central Bedfordshire council that: "The proposed outbuilding, would result in unacceptable harm by virtue of size, design and siting within the curtilage of a Listed Building and would lead to an overdevelopment of the site comprising an unsympathetic and dominating structure that fails to represent the informal open character of the site and lacks the due subservience."

It was also ruled: "the proposed scheme fails to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of the Listed Building, and is therefore contrary to Section 16(2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990."

The retrospective planning permission was refused and a demolition notice was issued by the local council, which was referred to in planning documents as the "Captain Tom Building”.

Appeal claims damages would be "outweighed by public benefits"

An appeal was lodged against the rejection of the retrospective planning application to the Secretary of State under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The Heritage Statement accepted that the retrospective plans "introduced a degree of change" to the original plans, however, it was claimed that the proposals sought to "mitigate the degree of impact through the use of sensitively considered materials, design, and where possible by planting trees between the site and principal building." 

The appeal also stated that any harm the changes to the low-medium value Old Rectory would be "outweighed by the anticipated public benefits of the associated planning proposal."

The appeal also refutes the claim the development is not in keeping with the character of the area as it does not represent high-quality development.

In the appeal statement, it was claimed that: "When clad in the approved material (black timber and dwarf walls) the subject building will not be out of character."

The appeal is ongoing.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.