High Court judge orders local resident to demolish sports and leisure building

Forest of Dean District Council has been granted an injunction ordering Cinderford resident Mr. Graham Wildin to demolish a 10,000 square foot sports and leisure building that was erected in his garden without planning permission in 2014.

Following a hearing at Cardiff High Court that took place on 20 September, His Honour Judge Jarman QC has decided to grant the injunction because that Mr. Wildin failed to comply with a Forest of Dean District Council Enforcement Notice, issued in March 2014, instructing him to demolish the works.

Representing the Council at the hearing, barrister Stephen Whale noted that Mr. Wildin had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and the High Court to cancel the Enforcement Notice and had failed on both occasions.  He was then given over two years to comply with the enforcement requirements but failed to do so despite the Council’s attempts to negotiate with him.

Handing down judgment today, HHJ Jarman QC noted that Mr Wildin has not taken any steps to comply with the enforcement notice and concluded “It is clear to me that he will not do so unless and until ordered to do so by the court”. He accepted that there would be adverse impacts upon Mr Wildin in granting the injunction, but that these were not such as to outweigh the public interest in compliance with planning control to remove a building “which has very serious impacts on the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers”.

Chair of the Forest of Dean District Council Planning Committee, Cllr Philip Burford, was delighted with the outcome:

“This decision sends out a strong message that we will act decisively when people try to ride roughshod over our planning laws and show little regard to proper process.  The planning committee had great sympathy for the neighbours who made valid complaints. Mr. Wildin knowingly erected his sports and leisure building even though he did not have the appropriate planning permission from the Council, he then he refused to cooperate with our enforcement team.  We very much hope that this long-running issue can now be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.”

This is the second time in five months that the High Court has upheld Council planning enforcement action. In a separate case heard in June, the Council successfully defended its decision requiring demolition of an agricultural building that had been converted into a dwelling at Eastwood Lodge in Woolaston.

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