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15th Aug 2022

Man who illegally built Britain’s best man cave jailed for refusing to tear it down

Jack Peat

Authorities were not caving it 

Neighbours of a millionaire who illegally built ‘Britain’s best man cave’ are relieved after the homeowner was jailed for refusing to tear it down.

Graham Wildin, 69, was locked up on Friday for six weeks for failing to comply with a court order issued in June 2021 after illegally building the ‘sanctuary’ at his home in Cinderford.

His sentence comes as a result of installing a bowling alley, cinema, squash courts, private casino and bar in the plush extension of his home eight years ago without planning permission.

A lengthy legal fight followed ending with a High Court judge handing down an injunction in 2018 and Wildin was initially given until the end of April 2020 to remove the 10,000sq/ft complex.

Last year, the Court of Appeal rejected his bid to quash a suspended prison sentence given for not removing the structure.

The court also set a deadline of March 10 2022 to demolish it or warned him he would be jailed.

For the past six months, neighbours have also been outraged at not being able to park their cars in the street after Wildin decided to park his collection of classic cars outside his home because of the council’s order to soft strip the leisure complex.

Bin lorries and ambulances could not drive down the road and residents were often unable to drive to work due to their cars being blocked in by Wildin’s vehicles.

Now that Wildin has been jailed, neighbours are pleased to see that justice has been served and pray it is the beginning of the end of trouble from the millionaire.

One said: “This hopefully marks the start of justice being done but the problems for the neighbours aren’t going to end overnight.

“It is the beginning of the end but nowhere near the end. At least some action has been taken as it has been a very stressful time for all the neighbours.”

Speaking after the case deputy Forest of Dean council leader Paul Hiett said it had been a “long and complex road”.

He said: “In what should have been a completely avoidable situation, Mr Wildin has continually ignored planning law and policies.

“The law is the law and we won’t give up pursuing Mr Wildin and ensuring that he complies with the legislation in exactly the same way as everyone else.

“As a council, it is important to ensure that development proposals improve the environments in which they exist, whilst safeguarding the community.”

Once Wildin has served his sentence, he will still be required to remove the additions to his home.

Before the sentencing, neighbours said it felt like Mr Wildin was “doubling down” on them over their objections to his refusal to follow the rules.

One said: “He’s not very well liked.

”He’s upset everybody on this road by flouting planning rules and then parking his collection of classic cars everywhere.

“He gets up everybody’s back, and to him it’s payback time for all the people on this road.

“We don’t see him very often. It’s just a shame because he used to be part of the community and would join us in street parties and stuff, but now he’s just annoyed everyone on the road and treats us badly.

“I don’t know how they’re going to knock down the buildings now though he’s give away his houses, but hopefully they will find a way.”