Defiant owner of Britain's 'best' man cave 'doubles down'

Defiant owner of Britain’s ‘best’ man cave ‘doubles down’: Angry neighbours accuse millionaire, 69, of building a POOL in his garden – after he refused to tear down illegal basement with cinema, squash court and bowling alley

  • New aerial photos of Graham Wildin’s home show a new building – which locals say began appearing last year 
  • Drone images show new building stands alongside controversial illegal ‘man cave’ he’s still refusing to remove
  • Unclear whether he needed planning permission for latest expansion – and no application has been submitted

The defiant owner of Britain’s ‘best man cave’ appears to have doubled down by building a new indoor pool – after he refused to tear down the illegal basement with a cinema, squash court and bowling alley. 

New aerial photos of Graham Wildin’s home in the Forest of Dean show a new building – which locals say started appearing late last year.

The accountant, 69, has already been ordered to tear down his extensive ‘man cave’ by the local council – but still refuses to do so.

Documents show he has transferred the ownership of two adjacent properties to a company run by his children.

And now in the back garden of one of them a large building has appeared – which locals say is an indoor pool. There appears to be inflatable toys piled on the decking outside.

It is unclear whether he needed planning permission for the latest expansion, because pool halls are sometimes regarded as outbuildings so are considered permitted developments. However, this depends on their scale. 

No applications appear to have been submitted by Forest Dean Council in relation to it, and a council spokesman said they couldn’t comment due to the ongoing legal proceedings. 


Accountant Graham Wildin’s ‘man cave’ (left – 2014) and a new building (right – APRIL 2022), which neighbours believe is a swimming pool 

Graham Wildin, 69, pictured above, built a £200,000 ‘man cave’ at his Gloucestershire home but was ordered to tear it down by March 10 because he did not have planning permission. Neighbours say he has now built a new indoor swimming pool

Drone images show the new building stands alongside the controversial illegal complex that includes a cinema, squash court and bowling alley.

Neighbours said it feels like Mr Wildin has now ‘doubled down’ on them over their objections to his refusal to follow the rules.

One neighbour who lives on the road said yesterday: ‘He’s not very well liked.

‘He’s upset everybody on this road by flouting planning rules and then parking his collection of classic cars everywhere.

‘He’s had a swimming pool built at the back, finished not long ago. That was ongoing for about four or five months. He gets up everybody’s back, and to him it’s payback time for all the people on this road.

‘He’s even had his gates repaired to keep everyone away from his house. There’s always something going on up there, they started on the swimming pool which went in late last year.

‘We don’t see him very often. It’s just a shame because he used to be part of the community and would join us in street parties and stuff, but now he’s just annoyed everyone on the road and treats us badly.

‘I don’t know how they’re going to knock down the buildings now though he’s giveN away his houses, but hopefully they will find a way.

Mr Wildin was initially given until the end of April 2020 to remove the 10,000sq/ft ‘man cave’, which includes a bowling alley 

It is unclear whether Mr Wildin had to get planning permission for the swimming pool. Pictured is the cinema inside his man cave  

Neighbours said it feels like Mr Wildin has now ‘doubled down’ on them over their objections to his refusal to follow the rules (he is seen inside his man cave)  

Land registry documents show the new pool complex is within 24a Meendhurst Road – known as Altea – which was transferred to Expresser Ltd, a company based in Lydney, Glos, at a cost of £226,566 in June 2020.

According to Companies House, the active directors of the company are currently Graham’s daughters Jacqueline Mannion and Louise Trigg and his son Philip Wildin.

Philip is listed as joining the company in October 2004 and is a financial adviser, while Jacqueline and Louise, who also joined that year are listed as ‘accountants.’

Other former directors include Graham Wildin himself, who is listed as resigning in 2004.

Another plot on the site, number 24 Meendhurst, which was formerly owned by Graham Wildin, has also been transferred to Expresser Ltd, according to documents from the Land Registry

One neighbour who lives on the road said yesterday: ‘He’s not very well liked. He’s upset everybody on this road by flouting planning rules and then parking his collection of classic cars everywhere’ 

Another neighbour said: ‘He’s had a swimming pool built at the back, finished not long ago. That was ongoing for about four or five months. He gets up everybody’s back, and to him it’s payback time for all the people on this road’  

Mr Wildin spent £200,000 building the man cave complex in 2014 – and it is still standing amid an exhausting planning row 

The third part of the plot including the building where the illegal man cave is situated is on land known as 24b Meendhurst Road that still belongs to Graham Wildin – which he bought in 2013 for £230,000.

Critics say the changes in the land ownership to his daughters and son was done to create a ‘fortress’ to stop bulldozers coming on the land.

After an eight year legal battle, the final deadline to pull down the man cave to avoid a jail sentence for contempt of court over ignoring the order passed without any action being taken a month ago.

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.

A Forest of Dean District Council spokesman said: ‘The Council can not comment on an ongoing case and is continuing to work with the relevant authorities.’

Wildin or his family didn’t respond to requests for comment at his office or at his homes.

Mr Wildin has previously said at previous hearing that it would cost him £72,000 to demolish the ‘mancave’ and this would affect the livelihoods of his 50-strong staff at his accountancy firm

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