Drone footage shows illegally built 'best man cave in Britain'
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A millionaire who illegally built 'Britain's best man cave' has created a 'fortress' in a bid to stop council bulldozers - by buying surrounding properties for his family, it was claimed on Wednesday.

Wealthy Graham Wildin, 69, has been accused of going to war with his neighbours to do everything to try and save the 10,000sq/ft leisure complex at the back of his home.

After an eight-year battle, he has been ordered by the courts to destroy the complex that includes a cinema, squash court and a bowling alley.

The final deadline to pull it down to avoid jail for contempt of court passed nearly a month ago, but the structure remains in place.

And after initially moving his classic car collection onto the street to create ''parking chaos" it is now claimed he purchased neighbouring land and property for his family - to block any attempts by the council to have it forcibly removed.

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Sources say land registry records now show that property to the front and side has been transferred or sold to a company owned by other members of Wildin's family.

It is understood relatives or neighbours would now have to give permission for the bulldozers to pass over their land to reach Wildin's mancave to forcibly take it down.

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Wildin didn't respond to requests for comment - but neighbours were split on his latest tactic - with some saying he has "dug his own grave" as the council could seek a further court order to access - while others praised his "ingenuity."

One neighbour, who praised the plan, said: "The council can't now knock it down, as legally they have to have the permission of the landowner to cross the land to get to the building.

"He has given ownership of that land, to his children, who aren't going to allow that permission. They can't force them. Like it or loathe it, it's clever."

But another neighbour said they felt it wouldn't end well for him.

They added: "He builds his oversized 'man cave', without planning permission and has spend about eight years of his life, fighting the council and lost at every point.

"He now has a suspended sentence, with prison time, if he fails to comply with the court order, and now that he hasn't complied with those orders he is now in contempt of court.

"He thinks he has now outsmarted the authorities, by surrounding his property, with land that is the ownership of his family members, so the council cannot get to the man cave to demolish it.

"All the council has to do is seek a court order to gain access to neighbouring land and they will then have access to the 'man cave', to demolish it.

"He will be footing the bill for all this, his 'man cave' will have gone and he will be in prison."

Another neighbour added: "He's digging his own grave and the council will bury him."

Wildin first sparked outrage amongst his neighbours when he was later found to have carried out the work without the required planning permission in 2014.

A lengthy legal fight followed ending with a High Court judge handing down an injunction in 2018 and Wildin was initially given until the end of April 2020 to remove the 10,000sq/ft complex.

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This ordered Wildin to tear down the sports centre as it had a serious impact on his neighbours in Cinderford, Glos.

But after failing to carry out the court's orders, he was found in contempt of court.

Mr Justice Jarman handed down a custodial sentence of six weeks, suspended for 12 months in November last year and a new deadline was set for March 10 this year.

Wildin has now reached the deadline to comply with the order to complete the required work under the threat of prison if he failed to do so.

During the judgment, Lady Justice Laing also found that the council had no way of proving whether Mr Wildin could afford to demolish the building, as he has never made full disclosure of his assets.

But she described him as "entirely the author of his own misfortune" and said there was "reasonable basis" to believe he was a very wealthy man."

Forest of Dean District Council was also been awarded substantial costs as part of the hearing.

The council has been contacted for comment.

But speaking after an earlier hearing, Cllr Tim Gwilliam said the whole process had been completely avoidable.

He said: "As a council it is important to ensure that development proposals improve the environments in which they live, whilst safeguarding the community.

"Every year, hundreds of people ask the council for planning advice and follow it. This has not been the case in Mr Wildin’s instance."

SWNS reporting by Tom Bevan.

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