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Britain’s biggest man cave finally faces the wrecking ball: Demolition begins on millionaire accountant’s hideaway with cinema, bowling alley and casino that he built without permission

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Britain’s biggest man cave is facing the wrecking ball as a council begins to demolish the millionaire accountant’s hideaway, which he built without permission ten years ago.

Graham Wilden, 72, has already been locked up after he refused to remove the enormous structure behind his home in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. 

He repeatedly flouted orders from local planners and the court and refused to lose the building – which stunningly included a cinema, bowling alley and casino.

The controversial pensioner has also faced the ire of locals after parking his classic cars and vans outside his neighbours’ homes and applying to turn his adjoining home into a holiday let.

But his furious rivals are set to finally receive some respite – as the Forest of Dean District Council confirmed that it will be destroyed in the next six to eight weeks. 

A 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.

Furious neighbours are set to finally receive some respite - as the Forest of Dean District Council confirmed that it will be destroyed in the next six to eight weeks. Pictured: Rubble outside the secured site

Furious neighbours are set to finally receive some respite – as the Forest of Dean District Council confirmed that it will be destroyed in the next six to eight weeks. Pictured: Rubble outside the secured site

Graham Wilden, 72, pictured, has already been locked up after he refused to remove the enormous structure behind his home in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Graham Wilden, 72, pictured, has already been locked up after he refused to remove the enormous structure behind his home in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Wilden repeatedly flouted orders from local planners and the court and refused to lose the building - which stunningly included a cinema, bowling alley and casino. Pictured: The man cave, with the grey roof

Wilden repeatedly flouted orders from local planners and the court and refused to lose the building – which stunningly included a cinema, bowling alley and casino. Pictured: The man cave, with the grey roof

The dramatic site has now been secured and is set to be demolished by the council, at no cost to the taxpayer

The dramatic site has now been secured and is set to be demolished by the council, at no cost to the taxpayer

Mr Wilden lost his fifth court battle over the 10,000sq/ft 'man cave' extension at the rear of his home in March 2023

Mr Wilden lost his fifth court battle over the 10,000sq/ft ‘man cave’ extension at the rear of his home in March 2023

Three High Court judges declared it was right to jail him for defying court orders - despite Mr Wildin claiming he had sold the building to a Mexican buyer for just £1

Three High Court judges declared it was right to jail him for defying court orders – despite Mr Wildin claiming he had sold the building to a Mexican buyer for just £1

‘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.’

Mr Wilden lost his fifth court battle over the 10,000sq/ft ‘man cave’ extension at the rear of his home in March 2023 when three High Court judges declared it was right to jail him for defying court orders – despite Mr Wildin claiming he had sold the building to a Mexican buyer for just £1. 

Boasting a 16-seat cinema, squash court, casino, bar and bowling alley, the grandfather’s 10,000sq ft building also featured a 25ft tall, three-storey doll’s house, a soft play area and indoor tennis and badminton courts.

Mr Wildin claimed he did not think he needed permission when he started construction, and said he built the complex 18ft into the ground to ensure it could not be seen. 

‘This follows a lengthy legal process where Defendant Graham Wildin received multiple court orders to demolish the building and served time in prison for contempt of court,’ the spokesperson continued.

‘The site’s history, in brief, is that Wildin first took steps to construct a leisure centre in the back garden of one of two adjacent houses he then owned at Meendhurst Road in November 2013, prompting a member of the public to submit a complaint to the Forest of Dean District Council.

Boasting a 16-seat cinema, squash court, casino, bar and bowling alley, the grandfather's 10,000sq ft building also featured a 25ft tall, three-storey doll's house, a soft play area and indoor tennis and badminton courts

Boasting a 16-seat cinema, squash court, casino, bar and bowling alley, the grandfather’s 10,000sq ft building also featured a 25ft tall, three-storey doll’s house, a soft play area and indoor tennis and badminton courts

Mr Wildin claimed he did not think he needed permission when he started construction, and said he built the complex 18ft into the ground to ensure it could not be seen

Mr Wildin claimed he did not think he needed permission when he started construction, and said he built the complex 18ft into the ground to ensure it could not be seen

Mr Wilden bowls a smart shot down the ten-pin alley inside his enormous man cave

Mr Wilden bowls a smart shot down the ten-pin alley inside his enormous man cave

‘Shortly after the start of construction 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.

‘Following a series of warnings, in November 2018 the Council obtained an injunction against Wildin, and he was given until 25 April 2020 to demolish the leisure building.

‘In legal proceedings brought by Forest of Dean District Council in June 2022, Wildin was found in contempt of court for non-compliance with the injunction. The judge sentenced him to six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, on the condition that the building be permanently stripped and decommissioned within 18 weeks.

‘Wildin subsequently appealed the decision. The appeal was dismissed, and he was given until 10 March 2022 to comply with the Order to complete the required work, if he was to avoid prison. Again, he did not comply with the injunction and was sentenced to six-weeks imprisonment in August 2022.

‘In March 2023 Wildin appealed the prison sentence. This was also dismissed.. The latest deadline for Wildin to comply with the injunction expired in early January 2023.

‘In the absence of compliance by Wildin officers have now progressed to the next stage of enforcement action, which has started today (Friday 31 May 2024).’

Last year, the millionaire’s neighbours also won a ‘David and Goliath’ court battle after complaining about him parking his 11 classic cars – including a grey Bentley Turbo R and burgundy Austin 1100 – and two vans in the street with a network of CCTV cameras set up to keep watch over them.

Residents on Meendhurst Road complained to Gloucestershire Police that Mr Wildin’s behaviour in monopolising the on-street parking was anti-social and obtained an interim injunction in September limiting the number of vehicles he could park on the road. 

Mr Wildin's man cave also included a casine complete with a roulette wheel and its very own bar

Mr Wildin’s man cave also included a casine complete with a roulette wheel and its very own bar

Last year, the millionaire's neighbours also won a 'David and Goliath' court battle after complaining about him parking his 11 classic cars in the street

Last year, the millionaire’s neighbours also won a ‘David and Goliath’ court battle after complaining about him parking his 11 classic cars in the street 

Residents on Meendhurst Road complained to Gloucestershire Police that Mr Wildin's behaviour in monopolising the on-street parking was anti-social

Residents on Meendhurst Road complained to Gloucestershire Police that Mr Wildin’s behaviour in monopolising the on-street parking was anti-social

Mr Wildin immediately issued an appeal against the injunction, but in December district judge Jonathan Napier imposed a full and final injunction order against the millionaire, meaning he will now only be allowed to park two cars on the road plus provision for two visitors, who can only stay for a maximum of eight hours. 

The complaints against the pensioner led to a panel being assembled by ‘Solace’ – a partnership between Gloucestershire police and the county’s district and city councils to prevent, investigate and tackle anti-social behaviour – who were responsible for obtaining the initial injunction.

During the two-day trial, Gloucester County Court heard that Mr Wildin had placed parking fine notices on a number of neighbours’ vehicles which were blocking his driveway.

The court was also told that because of the number of vehicles parked in the road, a Forest of Dean District Council bin lorry was unable to collect the rubbish.

Mr Wildin disputed this and numerous other issues through his legal representative Sasha Wass KC.

During the trial, at which Solace sought a full and final injunction order, Mr Wildin’s lawyer maintained that his neighbours were at fault and claimed that, apart from one occasion, he had not blocked his neighbours’ driveways with any of his vehicles.

It was claimed by the prosecution, led by Victoria Fennell, that Mr Wildin moved his classic car collection on to the street to create parking chaos in a bid to force the authorities to make a U-turn about the man cave.

Mr Wildin was ordered to pay his own legal costs, believed to be in the region of £80,000, plus £5,000 towards Solace’s costs.

Mr Wildin stands outside the works at his huge man cave after the council previously ordered him to tear it down

Mr Wildin stands outside the works at his huge man cave after the council previously ordered him to tear it down

Graham Wildin inside the leisure centre he has built for himself and his family in his back garden

Graham Wildin inside the leisure centre he has built for himself and his family in his back garden

Mr Wildin's spectacular man cave had room for a table football table alongside a comfortable sitting area

Mr Wildin’s spectacular man cave had room for a table football table alongside a comfortable sitting area

The judge did remove one interim condition over causing a nuisance and annoyance to others, as well as the power of arrest if he failed to comply with the injunction.

After the anti-social behaviour case review, Di Blandford – a retired detective and co-ordinator for Solace – said it was a victory for the neighbours who had collaborated to bring this action.

Ms Blandford added: ‘The residents of Meendhurst Road had become frustrated in that when they came home there was nowhere to park near their homes because Mr Wildin had taken up all the available spaces with his collection of cars.

‘This is the first prosecution under anti-social behaviour legislation, involving car parking disputes. I am pleased that a large contingent of those affected by Mr Wildin’s antics were able to see the process in action and the injunction being supported by the justice system.

‘It felt like a David versus Goliath victory for the neighbours, thanks to the efforts of our prosecutor.’

Ms Fennell said after the trial: ‘I am very pleased with the outcome of the hearing for all of the residents of Meendhurst Road.’



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