Fuming pensioner drills holes in neighbours’ new wall over boundary row

Ewen Taylor, 87, has displayed messages outside his house criticising the family – who say the row has left their children “embarrassed to go out”. Messages on the wooden placards include: “You and your cowboy builder are thiefs [sic]”, “Other councils take down illegle [sic] building work”, “Will they sue me?”, and “Do not like my signs, tell the council”. 

This months-long campaign has come despite Mr Taylor’s £90 fine for criminal damage he received last September.

His despairing neighbours – a married couple with four children aged eight to 20 – told Wales Online: “It needs to stop really.” The family, from Grangetown, Cardiff, denies any encroachment.

But Mr Taylor, a retired bricklayer who has lived at the property for 50 years, said: “It’s a matter of two inches but it’s my property.

“Even if it was half an inch I would object.”

The dispute was sparked in 2020 when the family built an extension in their back yard, removing the garden wall they previously shared and replacing it with a new one – which Mr Taylor claims juts into his own garden.

The family’s extension pushed back their bathroom to create more dining space. Their builders knocked down the old garden wall – which Mr Taylor described as “a random rubble wall with a cock and hen finish” – and built a concrete replacement.


Mr Taylor accepts he used a drill and hammer to make holes in the wall over a period of around five months. He also peeled off a strip of rendering from the building extension. Four circles in the garden wall show where the family have sealed up damage.

The 42-year-old mum who lives next door said: “I have no idea why he thinks it is on his property. It is distressing, especially for my children. They are embarrassed to go out when people ask questions about the signs.

“Since we moved in 20 years ago [Mr Taylor] hasn’t talked to us,” said the mum. “We hadn’t had an argument or anything. This is the first time there’s been any confrontation.

“Cardiff Council says there’s no need for a planning application for extensions of six metres and this was within six metres. Then after the work was finished [Mr Taylor] drilled straight through.

“One time when we were in he started doing it (drilling holes in the wall) and we asked why. He said: ‘It is in my property.’ It was intimidating for my children.”

In response, Mr Taylor said: “I don’t see how it was intimidating. Hammering and drilling have been going on next door for years. And that’s acceptable. If they want to hang new cupboards up they can hang new cupboards up. My wife would always hear it and say: ‘They’ve bought another box of nails.’ She passed away quite a few years ago.”

When Mr Taylor was given the fine last year, it is believed police took away his drill.

But the pensioner started creating signs on placards since then.

“We called the police two weeks ago and they said they can’t do anything because it’s on his private property. They said it is like a protest sign even though it’s got our house number and he’s calling us thieves. How can that not be offensive,” the mum next door said.

Mr Taylor said he launched his protest because he cannot afford civil action.

“I am protesting that they have encroached on my property to extend their property, devaluing my property. I am a victim and I am penalised?”

When Wales Online informed Mr Taylor the family feel harassed by the placards, he said: “My signs are the truth. A couple of days ago the law [police] were here. They told me the signs are not very nice and that other people object to them. But I wasn’t asked to take them down because they don’t have the power. It’s on my property.”

The family said police have advised them they could launch civil proceedings over the display but they decided against it to avoid legal costs.

A Cardiff Council spokesman said it was a civil matter between two parties, adding: “We could only get involved if the signs were on the highway, causing an obstruction, or have been put up without permission, so in effect flyposting, which is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.”

South Wales Police have been approached for comment.

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