Millionaire avoids jail after refusing to tear down plush extension with pub and casino

·3 min read
Graham Wildin inside the leisure centre he has built for himself and his family in his back garden (file pic) See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Graham Wildin inside the games room he built for himself and his family in his back garden (SWNS)

A millionaire has escaped a jail term for refusing to demolish a private games room - which included a pub and bowling alley - that he built illegally in his garden.

Graham Wildin was given a suspended prison sentence for not removing the cinema, squash courts, private casino and bar located in a plush extension at his home in Forest of Dean.

The accountant sparked outrage amongst neighbours when he was found to have carried out the work without the required planning permission in 2014.

A lengthy legal fight ensued, culminating in a High Court injunction in 2018, and Wildin was given until the end of April 2020 to remove the 10,000 square foot complex.

Graham Wildin inside the leisure centre he has built for himself and his family in his back garden (file pic) See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
The construction also included its own bowling alley (SWNS)
Graham Wildin inside the leisure centre he has built for himself and his family in his back garden (file pic) See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Graham Wildin included a home cinema in the ambitious building (SWNS)

This ordered 68-year-old Wildin to demolish the extension as it had a "serious impact" on his neighbours in Cinderford, Glos.

However, with the controversial building still standing past the given deadline, Wildin appeared in court last week where he claimed he could not comply for various reasons, including being unable to find contractors and the inability to find the necessary money.

Due to the claimed lack of funds, the judge said he was not prepared to find Wildin in contempt of court for the requirement to demolish the building entirely.

Graham Wildin, from the Forest of Dean, outside his home where he built a 'man cave' in the back garden. See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Graham Wildin, from the Forest of Dean, outside his home where he built a sprawling games room in the back garden (SWNS)
Aerial view of the vast 'man cave' built by Graham Wildin in his back garden - without planning permission. See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Aerial view of the vastconstruction built by Graham Wildin in his back garden - without planning permission (SWNS)

Instead, he was found in contempt of court for not soft stripping the interior of the building, for not decommissioning services, and in four other respects.

Mr Justice Jarman handed down a custodial sentence of six weeks, suspended for 12 months.

The sentence was imposed on the condition that Wildin strip the interior of the building including removing all sports equipment, the cinema, bowling alley, all doors, lighting, radiators, fixtures, fittings, sanitary ware and furniture, along with disconnecting electricity and water supplies within 18 weeks.

GV of the leisure centre Graham Wildin has built for himself and his family in the back garden of his house. See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Graham Wildin must remove the games building he built in his back garden (SWNS)

Speaking after the case Forest of Dean District Council leader Tim Gwilliam said: “Today’s result was completely avoidable. If Mr Wildin had followed the advice of the many experts who advised him to comply with the law, he would not have faced this outcome.

GV of the leisure centre Graham Wildin has built for himself and his family in the back garden of his house. See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Wildin owes a £30,000 payment to the council to cover its prosecution costs (SWNS)
GV of the leisure centre Graham Wildin has built for himself and his family in the back garden of his house. See SWNS story SWBRcave; A man ordered to knock down 'Britain's best man cave' which he built illegally in his back garden has been told to pay £30,000 to the council to cover its prosecution costs. Graham Wildin, 66, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex. It contains a bowling alley, cinema, casino and a gym - and pictures from Google Earth show it looking like a massive factory. But a High Court judge said the granddad-of-five must comply with the council and remove the centre.
Wildin, 68, spent four years battling with authorities over the private leisure complex (SWNS)

“The council's determination to see this matter through was not borne out of malice or trying to attack someone who has been a businessman in the district for many years, but simply out of doing what is right and fair.

“Every year, hundreds of people ask the council for planning advice and follow it.

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“The council does its best to assist people in securing permissions for development proposals that improve the environment in which they live whilst safeguarding the community. It is important that the planning rules and policies are adhered to.

“The Forest of Dean District Council would like to thank the people of the Forest and the people of Cinderford in particular for their patience while we followed the lengthy process of making this happen.”

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