Millionaire accountant’s man cave to be demolished

Millionaire accountant’s man cave to be demolished

Jun 8, 2024

After building a personal leisure complex in his back garden, accountant and tax adviser Graham Wildin has lost his battle to stop the council from demolishing the illegal structure

The building in Cinderford in Gloucestershire was never given planning permission and Wildin had been in dispute with Forest of Dean District Council for years over the unauthorised structure, which was built in 2014.

Now the Council has confirmed it has brought in a demolition company to take down the huge building.

The 10,000 square foot leisure complex was dubbed the man cave and loomed over neighbours’ houses. It had a ten-pin bowling alley, 16-seater cinema, squash court, small casino and fully equipped gym.

Shortly after the start of construction complaints flowed in about the scale of the development which covered the gardens of two properties Wildin owned.

Various Council officers advised Wildin that the proposed building was not ‘permitted development’ and required planning permission. Construction continued despite Wildin being informed of the risks, including financial penalties.

Wildin was in court several times over the legality of the building over the years, and was given a suspended sentence at the High Court for contempt of court for failing to comply the with the order to dismantle the building. He ignored this and in August 2022 was given a six-week jail sentence again for failure to comply. He appealed this and lost in 2023.

Now finally, after 10 years of the protracted dispute, the Council has been given the go-ahead to proceed with the demolition. The site was secured on 31 May with demolition planned over the next six to eight weeks.

A Forest of Dean District Council spokesperson said: ‘As a council it is our duty to ensure that planning and development proposals comply with the law and bring benefit to the local area, whilst also safeguarding the community.

‘Hundreds of people every year follow the correct process for planning applications and development, sadly this has not been the case at this location.

‘It is important to note that the cost of this process should not be borne by the taxpayer, and we will look to recover the full cost of the demolition from the landowner in due course.

‘We will work closely with our demolition contractor, to limit any disruption for residents. We would like to also take this opportunity to thank the people living in close proximity to this property for their patience during this lengthy legal process.’