THE 'man cave' at the centre of long-running planning dispute is to be demolished.

The Forest Council has today (Friday, May 31) secured the site in Meendhurst Road, Cinderford and the building will be knocked down over the next six to eight weeks.

The leisure centre was started in the in the back garden of two adjacent houses then owned by accountant Graham Wildin in November 2013.

That prompted a complaint to the council which led to a long-runnning legal dispute which saw Mr Wildin jailed for contempt of court.

The latest deadline for Mr Wildin to take down the building passed in January.

The council that “in the absence of compliance” officers have progressed to the next stage of enforcement action.

“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.”

Following the complaint, Mr Wildin was told the 10,000sq ft building was not 'permitted development' and needed planning permission.

Following a series of warnings, in November 2018 the council obtained an injunction against the businessman, and he was given until April 25 2020 to demolish the leisure building. 

In legal proceedings brought by Forest of Dean District Council in June 2022, he was found in contempt of court for not complying 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. 

An appeal by Mr Wildin was dismissed, and he was given until March 10 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 he appealed against the prison sentence which was also dismissed