LONG-SUFFERING neighbours of a Forest accountant who has caused parking problems with his 13 classic cars and vans outside their homes have won a ‘David versus Goliath’ battle at court.
Graham Wildin, 71, – who built a huge ‘man cave’ at his home in Meenhurst Road without planning consent – has been parking his 11 cars and two vans in the street with a network of CCTV cameras set up to keep watch over them.
His collection of classic cars includes a yellow convertible Jensen-Healey sports car, a grey Bentley Turbo R, a burgundy Austin 1100, a Range Rover and a Vauxhall Viscount along. Elevated poles have been erected for some of the CCTV cameras.
Wildin’s frustrated neighbours complained to Gloucestershire Police that his behaviour in monopolising the on street parking was anti-social. Their complaints led to a panel being assembled by ‘Solace’ - a partnership between Gloucestershire police and the county’s district and city councils to prevent, investigate and tackle anti-social behaviour.
Solace obtained an interim injunction in September limiting the number of vehicles Mr Wildin could park on the road. Mr Wildin immediately issued an appeal against the injunction.
Last week, in front of District Judge Jonathan Napier, a two-day trial of the alleged anti social behaviour was held at Gloucester County Court.
The court heard that he had placed parking fine notices on a number of neighbours vehicles blocking his driveway.
The court was also told that because of the number of vehicles parked in the road, a Forest of Dean District Council bin lorry was unable to collect the rubbish.
Mr Wildin disputed this and numerous other issues through his legal representative Sasha Wass KC.
During the trial, at which Solace sought a full and final injunction order, Mr Wildin’s lawyer maintained that his neighbours were at fault and claimed that, apart from one occasion, he had not blocked his neighbours’ driveways with any of his vehicles.
Neighbours have claimed that Mr Wildin resorted to inconsiderate parking of his vehicles in the street after he was ordered to tear down his leisure complex that was built without planning permission in 2014 and has resulted in a long-running legal battle with the Forest of Dean District Council.
It was claimed he moved his classic car collection onto the street to create parking chaos in a bid to force the authority to make a U-turn on the issue.
But at last week’s hearing, which was attended by neighbours affected by Mr Wildin’s parking antics and was prosecuted by Victoria Fennell on behalf of Solace and its partners, Judge Napier imposed a full and final injunction order.
Mr Wildin will now be allowed to park only 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.
However the judge removed one interim condition over causing a nuisance and annoyance to others and also the power of arrest if he failed to comply with the injunction.
Mr Wildin was ordered to pay his own legal costs, believed to be in the region of £80,000, plus £5,000 towards Solace’s costs.
After the hearing the anti-social behaviour case review co-ordinator for Solace Di Blandford – a retired detective – said it was a victory for the neighbours who had collaborated to bring this action.
Ms Blandford added: “The residents of Meendhurst Road had become frustrated in that when they came home there was nowhere to park near their homes because Mr Wildin had taken up all the available spaces with his collection of cars.
“This is the first prosecution under anti-social behaviour legislation, involving car parking disputes. I am pleased that a large contingent of those affected by Mr Wildin’s antics were able to see the process in action and the injunction being supported by the justice system.
“It felt like a David versus Goliath victory for the neighbours, thanks to the efforts of our prosecutor.”
Ms Fennell said after the trial: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the hearing for all of the residents of Meendhurst Road.”