A millionaire accountant who built an unauthorised sports and leisure complex in his garden has been jailed for contempt for refusing to demolish it.
Graham Wildin, from Cinderford, Gloucestershire, was jailed for six weeks by a High Court judge for contempt of court following a hearing in Cardiff.
He had failed to comply with court orders to remove it having previously been warned several times to knock down the complex behind his home in the Forest of Dean.
The ‘man cave’ includes a bowling alley, cinema, squash courts, private casino and bar and was first built in 2014. A long-running planning dispute then began with Forest of Dean District Council and has led to Mr Wildin’s jailing at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre.
Mr Wildin, 69, allegedly bought the surrounding homes for his family and 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
Sources said land registry records showed that property to the front and side have been transferred or sold to a company owned by other members of Mr Wildin’s family.
However, after an eight-year battle, he was ordered by the courts to destroy the complex.
In committal proceedings last year, he was found in contempt of court for non-compliance with the injunction. He was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months on the condition the complex was permanently stripped and decommissioned within 18 weeks.
An appeal was dismissed and Mr Wildin was given until 10 March this year to comply with the order.
Deputy council leader Paul Hiett said: “The enforcement case against Mr Wildin has been a long and complex road.
“In what should have been a completely avoidable situation, Mr Wildin has continually ignored planning law and policies that are there to protect local communities.
“The law is the law and we won’t give up pursuing Mr Wildin and ensuring that he complies with the legislation in exactly the same way as everyone else.
“As a council it is important to ensure that development proposals improve the environments in which they exist, 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.
“I would like to again thank the people of the Forest for their patience and the tenacity of the council’s staff who continue to push this case forward.
“To protect local communities from behaviour like we’ve seen in this case, we will continue to pursue those that ignore planning policy using the routes set out in law.”
Once Mr Wildin has served his sentence he will still be required to remove the building.