The Captain Tom Foundation will be shut down when the Charity Commission investigation is over, the family’s barrister has said.
Barrister Scott Stemp confirmed the charity’s future at a Planning Inspectorate hearing being held today to determine whether the family would have to demolish an unauthorised spa pool at their £1.2million home.
The Charity Commission has been investigating the Captain Tom Foundation for potential conflicts of interest.
Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin applied in 2021 for permission to build a Captain Tom Foundation Building in the grounds of their home in Marston Moretaine.
The L-shaped building was given the green light, but the planning authority refused a subsequent retrospective application in 2022 for a larger C-shaped building containing a spa pool.
At the planning hearing being held at Central Bedfordshire Council’s officers in Chicksands today, planning inspector Diane Fleming asked Mr Stemp about the charity’s memorabilia going on display.
Captain Sir Tom Moore and his daughter Hannah in 2020 after he completed 100 laps of his garden during lockdown, raising millions for the NHS
Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Tom, arrives for a planning hearing at Central Bedfordshire Council today
Ms Ingram-Moore was accompanied by her husband and son and lawyer for the appeal against the demolition of a spa at their home
This spa complex, built in the grounds of the home of Captain Tom’s daughter and husband, is at the centre of a planning row starting today after the local council said it was unauthorised
The luxury spa pool was not part of the original plans for the building, and a bid to have it approved retrospectively was denied and is currently the subject of an appeal, starting today
The Ingram-Moores said the plan was never for the building housing the spa pool to be ‘The Captain Tom Foundation’ building – but a planning statement explicitly referred to the building as such, and stated it was to be used for ‘charitable objectives’
She said: ‘In my head that’s people coming to the property to view these things.’
Mr Stemp said it was ‘important context to understand the Captain Tom Foundation is not part of this application and the Foundation will not be using this building’.
Ms Fleming said if memorabilia was there ‘then there must be some aspect of the Captain Tom Foundation’.
Mr Stemp said: ‘There isn’t… it’s no news to anybody that the Captain Tom Foundation will be closed down following the Charity Commission investigation.’
Captain Tom Moore‘s daughter today insisted that an unauthorised spa built at their mansion was for regular rehab sessions for local elderly people – not the family’s benefit – as her battle to stop it being torn down began.
Ms Ingram-Moore and her husband have appealed against an order to demolish a pool block built at their Bedfordshire mansion.
Central Bedfordshire Council said in July that an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the ‘now-unauthorised building’ was issued.
A Planning Inspectorate hearing today was told the pool – which was built without permission – would benefit local people. But the council insists that the C-shaped building was 49 per cent larger than what had been approved and must be demolished.
Ms Ingram-Moore attended the hearing dressed in an open-necked shirt and dark jumper. She was accompanied by husband Coline, wearing a brown jacket and shirt, and son Benji.
Throughout the hearing, Mr Ingram-Moore occasionally passed notes forward to their representatives, while Mrs Ingram-Moore glanced at a tablet computer.
The hearing heard that the C-shaped building, that was built on a tennis court, was 49 per cent larger than what had been approved.
A document supporting the initial planning application for an L-shaped building said it was to be used partly ‘in connection with The Captain Tom Foundation and its charitable objectives’.
Speaking on behalf of the family, chartered surveyor James Paynter said: ‘The scheme evolved to include other parts.
‘As these discussions around the opportunities these buildings offered developed, it was felt that a large building could provide these extra facilities going forward. The spa pool has the opportunity to offer rehabilitation sessions for elderly people in the local area. They want to offer one to one sessions on a once or twice a week basis.
‘It was felt the limb to create the C-shape [of the non-approved building, compared to the L-shape of the building that had planning permission] was needed for this facility.’
Barrister Scott Stemp, representing the Ingram-Moores, said there had been an ‘evolution in the discussions between the appellants and other agencies’.
Captain Tom Moore’s family have been handed money from various routes, including from three of his books
Captain Sir Tom Moore went on to write three books under a deal with Penguin Random House that has earned his family more than £800,000
Some of the memorabilia associated with Captain Tom would be kept in the building, he added, but not all ‘because of their extremely substantial volume’.
Steven Handforth, director of Handforth Heritage, who also appeared on behalf of the family, said the annexe was 206 square metres, compared to 320 square metres of the Grade II listed building the Ingram-Moores live in – but said it was single storey, unlike the family home which is two storeys.
‘So in my opinion that is subservient to the listed building. If it was double height I’d put my hands up but it’s single storey,’ he added.
Barrister Mr Stemp said the building work had been interrupted and the final form would have external timber cladding and a brick plinth ‘so it will have an appearance of it being a subservient building’.
But Maria Viciana, a conservation officer at the council, said: ‘The mass of the building is very unsympathetic to the listed building. Although low in height, it still creates a large building on the site.
‘206 square metres is a large building and that massing it produces with two gables towards the listed building creates the impression it is an imposing structure.’
The inquiry also heard that the C-shaped building was nearly two metres closer to a perimeter fence than had been allowed in the original scheme, leaving a gap of 2.9m.
Around half a dozen neighbours attended the meeting, with one complaining that the building was ’49 per cent bigger’ than what was agreed and was closer to his property. He added: ‘It’s very brutal.
The planning inspector is due to make a site visit with representatives of the Ingram-Moores and the council. A written decision will be published later this year.
James Paynter, for the family, said: ‘The difference is 1.9m. How do you go from minimal to overbearing in that short space?’
But Annabelle Robinson, on behalf of the council, said the structure was ‘unneighbourly and overbearing’ and the space left made it ‘unlikely that satisfactory landscaping could be achieved’.
In a written statement, Mr Ingram-Moore said the elevation of the built structure and what had been approved ‘are the same’.
Richard Proctor, planning enforcement team leader for Central Bedfordshire Council, said: ‘Yes, the tennis court wasn’t ideal but it was significantly less harmful than the building.
‘The original building that was approved was because of public good outweighing harm. Ms Fleming stated that ‘the council say if that balancing exercise was carried out again the balance would be different’.
A written decision will be published later this year.
Today’s hearing came days after the amount of cash raked in by Sir Captain Tom Moore’s family off the back of his £39million fundraising legacy was laid bare – amid growing calls for them to give it back.
Hannah Ingram-Moore confessed and broke down in tears in an interview with Piers Morgan, who declared that holding on to the money was ‘deeply unethical and a betrayal’ of her father’s legacy.
Ms Ingram-Moore told TalkTV that Sir Tom wanted them to get the profits from his three books, pocketing £800,000 in the process.
Captain Tom Moore on holiday in Barbados at the end of 2020 with grandchildren Benji and Georgia, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin
However, the prologue of his autobiography calls this claim into question and suggests the veteran thought his books were just another way for him to raise cash for good causes.
Crying, she told Mr Morgan: ‘These were my father’s books, and it was honestly such a joy for him to write them, but they were his books. He had an agent and they worked on that deal, and his wishes were…’ Mr Morgan interjected: ‘For you to keep?’, and she responded: ‘Yes. Specifically’.
In an emotionally charged interview Ms Ingram-Moore’s family suggested she had been suicidal and they had suffered death threats.
But following their admissions, the Sir Captain Tom Moore Twitter account has today been inundated with messages from people who donated, demanding the family give the cash back.
Ms Ingram-Moore’s husband Colin told Mr Morgan: ‘We should have done it in a different way’ – but the family has so far refused to return any cash.
Ms Ingram-Moore also broke her silence on the £85,000 salary she earned as interim CEO of the Captain Tom Foundation. She also received £7,602 in expense payments for travel and administration between June 2021 and November 2022.
She further admitted 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 banked £16,000, donating just £2,000 to the Captain Tom Foundation.
Maytrix Group has already been pilloried for taking up to £100,000 in furlough cash and £47,500 in Covid loans during the pandemic.
The family also opened up about their regret over building a controversial spa and pool complex at their mansion – but confessed that they are hoping to win an appeal to keep it nevertheless.
Rising building costs mean the price of the office and spa complex could have been in the region of £200,000, according to two local estate agents who spoke to the Mail in July.
Ms Ingram-Moore said her father wanted them to keep the profits from his three books: Captain Tom’s Life Lessons, One Hundred Steps and his autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.
The family is also adamant that people buying the books were never told their money was going to charity.
However, the prologue of his autobiography reads: ‘Astonishingly at my age, with the offer to write this memoir I have also been given the chance to raise even more money for the charitable foundation now established in my name.’
Discussing his books, which were written before his death aged 100, Ms Ingram-Moore said the money made went into Club Nook Ltd – a firm separate from the charity in his name.