NEIGHBOURS of a millionaire who illegally built “Britain’s best man cave” are relieved after the homeowner was jailed after a lengthy battle.
Graham Wildin, 70, is behind bars after refusing to dismantle the leisure complex that he built without planning permission at the back of his home in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.
Neighbours of Graham Wildin have spoken about their relief that the homeowner was jailedCredit: SWNS
The millionaire is behind bars for failing to dismantle “Britain’s best man cave” that he built without planning permissionCredit: SWNS
Wildin’s leisure centre also included a private casino, bowling alley, cinema and squash courtsCredit: SWNS
He was banged up on Friday for six weeks for failing to comply with a court order issued back in June 2021.
Wildin first sparked outrage from his neighbours in 2014 by building the “man cave”, which includes a bowling alley, cinema, squash courts, private casino and bar.
A long-running planning dispute then began with Forest of Dean District Council and led to Mr Wildin’s jailing at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre.
But as the eight year planning row came to an end earlier this week, neighbours have been pleased to see that justice has been served.
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.”
For the past six months, neighbours have also been outraged at not being able to park their cars in the street after Wildin moved his classic car collection onto the street 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 the millionaire’s motors.
Wildin was previously accused of going to war with his neighbours to do everything to try and save the complex.
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.”
Last year, the Court of Appeal rejected Wildin’s bid to quash a suspended prison sentence given for not removing the structure and set him a deadline of March 10 2022 to demolish it or face jail.
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.
Judge Jarman QC told Wildin on August 12 that when he comes out of prison he has 18 weeks to comply with the original order to completely dismantle the facilities.