Neighbours of the man who built “Britain's best man cave” – breaking the law in the process – have rubbed salt in the wounds after he was thrown in jail.
Millionaire grandad Graham Wildin, 70, rejected the orders of a judge who told him to demolish the leisure complex that he had built in his back garden in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.
The huge building featured a gym, cinema, bowling alley, swimming pool, squash court, classic car collection, bar, casino and more.
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But it failed to impress the Forest of Dean District Council who took action against Wildin.
The accountant now faces six weeks in jail following a hearing in Cardiff after an eight-year planning row over his one-of-a-kind complex.
However, the row is not yet over as Wildin has been informed that upon being released he has 18 weeks to comply with the original order to dismantle the facilities – an instruction he has repeatedly ignored in the past.
Locals are hoping that he will do just that.
A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, 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.”
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And another added: “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 given away his houses, but hopefully they will find a way.”
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The long-running planning row dates back to 2014 when Wildin was told to take down one of the country’s largest man caves, then behind his and a neighbouring property – which is now owned by family.
Over the years, planning inspectors and courts have repeatedly agreed it was built without permission and set a number of deadlines.
In 2018, Wildin was given two years to comply with the order to break it all down.
But, after the first Covid lockdown, when planning officers visited the site Wildin had added the leisure centre and swimming pool.
In June 2021, the judge granted the local council a contempt of court application against Wildin for breaching an injunction.
He gave Wildin 18 weeks to cut off the water, electricity and gas and remove all fixtures, fittings and furniture from inside the building.
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Wildin’s appeals were refused by two appeal court judges who told him he had been the author of his own misfortune.
The court heard this week that when enforcement officer Stephen Colgate visited the property on Thursday (August 11), the lights were on, taps running, toilets flushed and a gas boiler could be heard.
Wildin had removed the casino and bar, the vast majority of the work needed to comply with the order had not been done the court heard.
However, when arguing his case, Wildin claimed the electricity had been turned off but randomly came back on, possibly because of work being carried out in the street outside.
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He also claimed he had done three quarters of the work he had been required to complete and produced 100 photos to back this up.
As well as that, he alleged that because the council turned up without notice and forced their way into his property the evidence should be inadmissible.
But council solicitor Helen Blundell told the court officers had turned up without notice because they wanted to see the true picture of what was happening inside before anybody had time to turn off the utilities.
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