“Britain’s biggest man cave”: Gloucestershire accountant behind bars

Gloucestershire accountant Graham Wildin is now behind bars at HMP Cardiff, following the latest hearing in the long-running planning dispute over “Britain’s biggest man cave”.

In 2014, and despite a warning that it needed planning permission, Mr Wildin built an unauthorised sports and leisure complex in his back garden in the Forest of Dean.  It boasts a cinema, bowling alley, squash court, badminton court, casino, bar, model railway and children’s play area.  Mr Wildin has subsequently lost a long series of battles before an Inspector, in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.  In 2021, he was given a 6 weeks suspended prison sentence for contempt of court on condition that he permanently decommissioned the building’s services and permanently soft stripped it by 10 March 2022.  That date came and went without compliance.  On Thursday last week, officers conducted an unannounced site visit and found that the electrics were still connected, the gas boiler was working and the water supply was functioning.  Very little had been done by way of soft stripping.  In Court last Friday, the Judge rejected Mr Wildin’s assertions that he did not have the money to comply.  Mr Wildin’s contention that the electricity and water supplies might somehow have been reconnected by nearby broadband and fibre optics contractors did not find favour.  The Judge activated the prison sentence, and Mr Wildin is now languishing in jail.  Upon his release, the 18 weeks compliance period will re-start.  A further breach may well lead to a longer prison sentence in future.

Stephen Whale of Landmark Chambers has successfully represented Forest of Dean District Council throughout the injunction, contempt of court and committal proceedings.

The case has been reported on BBC news.

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