Roof torn off UK's 'biggest man cave' after decade-long legal battle (2024)

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The UK’s ‘biggest man cave’ is finally being torn down after a decade-long legal battle.

Millionaire Graham Wildin, 70, has been engaged in a planning war since 2014 after a court ordered him to demolish his illegal 10,000sq/ft leisure complex, which he built without council permission.

The extravagant ‘man cave’, which includes a bowling alley, casino and a cinema, sits at the back of Wildin’s home, who has served jail time after refusing to tear it down.

The Forest of Dean District Council finally started pulling it down in June – and this week the roof had been torn off, revealing the gutted interior.

Drone pictures of the demolition show the ransacked shell of the building, which sits behind his home in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

There was no sign of the plush squash courts, soft play area or bowling alley which can be seen in a video of the complex when it was first built.

An onlooker said: ‘It really looks nothing like the plush leisure centre which we once saw there.’

Wildin’s first of five court defeats came in September 2018 when a High Court injunction was handed down initially giving him until the end of April 2020 to remove the building.

He failed to comply with the injunction and was given a suspended sentence in June 2021.

He then lost an appeal against the sentence at the Court of Appeal that November and he was ordered to demolish the complex by March 10 2022.

But when Wildin’s defiance continued, the six-week suspended sentence for contempt of court was activated on August 13 2022.

Once released from HMP Cardiff, he was given 18 weeks to ‘soft strip’ the interior of the building to make it unusable.

That deadline expired in January 2023, and last year he suffered his fifth court defeat after the previous sentencing was upheld.

Wildin was ordered to pay £9,962 in costs to the district council, despite claiming he had now sold it all for just £1, and in September 2023 it was revealed he had been issued an injunction to stop him harassing neighbours with parking and CCTV.

Wildin’s neighbours alleged he took out his frustration with the council on them by clogging up the street’s parking spaces with his fleet of classic cars.

He appealed, and in December it was said he was given a final injunction – allowing him to only park two cars on the road plus provision for two visitors, who can only stay for a maximum of eight hours.

The judge also ordered that Mr Wildin cannot keep the CCTV surveillance cameras on the exterior of any vehicle nor on any extendable pole.

But in March this year it was reported the six-bed home near the ‘man cave’ – thought to be owned by his family, was to become a holiday let.

A temporary go-ahead has been given for it to be used as such – despite locals worries over noise, cars and ‘noisy revellers’.

Last month Wildin was asked if he had any comment, and if he thought the demolition was fair but did not answer questions and promptly returned inside the property.

A Forest of Dean District Council 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.

‘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.’

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Roof torn off UK's 'biggest man cave' after decade-long legal battle (2024)
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