Workers are dismantling a luxury spa pool block built without permission at the home of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter.
Neighbours said the building – put up after the death of the beloved war veteran – had been an eyesore and had made the village a laughing stock.
Scaffolders in orange hi-vis jackets began the demolition work on Wednesday after a lorry arrived at the property in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, on Tuesday, for a job forecast to take up to two weeks.
Work at the site was expected to continue on Thursday, with aerial photos giving a bird’s eye view of the C-shaped property.
Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, Colin, lost their appeal against an order to remove the Captain Tom Foundation building in the grounds of their property after a hearing in October. A planning inspector ruled it was at odds with their Grade ll-listed home.
The couple were given a deadline of 8 February to have it pulled down and return the land at The Old Rectory to how it was before they built the extension.
Last week, memorabilia likely to be linked to Captain Sir Tom Moore’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award were among the items taken away from the building.
Villager Ian Knight said residents would be pleased the building was going.
“It’s an absolute eyesore – it looks like a prison. People here started to get the hump,” he said, but villagers were initially too respectful of Captain Tom to speak out.
When the spa was put up, he wondered how they had been given permission for it – until it transpired they had not.
By early Wednesday afternoon workers had removed part of the roof, he said.
Mr Knight, a labourer, estimated the demolition would take at least a week, and maybe two.
He said the spa, erected next to the oldest building in the village, had been disgusting and a laughing stock because it was out of keeping with its surroundings.
“Everyone loved Captain Tom and this became a distraction from his fundraising,” he said.
Mr Knight said his aunt’s house was the closest home to Ingram-Moores’ garden, and she did not like it.
War veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore became a national hero almost overnight when he raised £38m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden before his 100th birthday during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. He died from the virus in February the following year.
His daughter, Ms Ingram-Moore, defended the pool and spa building in the grounds of the family home, saying it was intended to be part of his legacy, but later said they had made the wrong decision over the extension.
The couple had been given permission for a Captain Tom Foundation building on disused tennis courts.
But when a retrospective application in 2022 for a C-shaped building containing a spa pool was turned down, Central Bedfordshire Council served an enforcement notice requiring its demolition.
The Captain Tom Foundation, which received more than £1m in donations in its first year after opening in 2020, hit headlines when it emerged it had spent more on management fees than it had released in grants.
Last year, The Independent revealed that £54,039 was paid from the foundation to two companies run by Ms Ingram-Moore and her husband.
Central Bedfordshire Council, which is due to visit the site on 8 February, deadline day, said it was not putting any funding towards the work.