Millionaire businessman loses long-running man cave legal battle

Forest of Dean District Council said work began on Friday to remove the 10,000 sq ft cave built by Graham Wildin in Cinderford.

The building, which housed a bowling alley, casino and cinema, had been the subject of a lengthy legal battle.

The council said the building would be demolished over the next eight weeks and it would be looking to “recover the full cost from the landowner in due course”.

A spokesperson said: “It is important to note that the cost of this process should not be borne by the taxpayer.

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

The council said it would try to keep disruption to a minimum for neighbours.

A spokesperson added: “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.”

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).