Kate Middleton’s brother in toxic feud with ‘nightmare neighbour who put up posters attacking family’

Exclusive: James Middleton claims his neighbour put up malicious posters across surrounding villages attacking the future Queen’s family

Emma Guinness
Sunday 21 April 2024 07:42 BST
Related: Kate Middleton’s brother James shares touching support amid cancer news.

The Princess of Wales’s brother is locked in a toxic feud with a “nightmare neighbour” who has allegedly papered his local village with malicious posters attacking the family.

James Middleton, 37, responded to The Independent’s enquiry about the dispute, which follows accusations that his family farm in Berkshire, just a stone’s throw from Kate’s childhood home in the rural idyll of Bucklebury, is generating noise and light pollution.

David Alderton, 65, is claimed to have trespassed on the property where Mr Middleton lives with his wife and young child, as part of a months-long row that has disturbed the normally sleepy village of Stanford Dingley.

Mr Middleton also claims Mr Alderton put up malicious posters across the neighbouring villages attacking the Middleton family, and that he told the future Queen’s brother that “things are gonna get brutal”.

Mr Middleton’s land is just a few miles from where Kate grew up in leafy Bucklebury, where her younger sister Pippa now resides on Bucklebury Farm, a thriving 72-acre site Pippa bought with her husband James Matthews four years ago for £1.5m.

Mr Alderton runs a motorcycle dealership and lives in a bungalow directly across from Mr Middleton’s farm. He fell out with Mr Middleton after the working farmer joined a group objecting to a planning application for a dwelling that was branded an “eyesore”, according to another neighbour familiar with the row.

James Middleton claims that his neighbour has been harassing his family for years
James Middleton claims that his neighbour has been harassing his family for years (James Middleton/Instagram)

After tensions reached boiling point, Mr Middleton is understood to have requested that they communicate only via email or the council. But while it is believed that they engaged in a mediation programme, the alleged campaign of harassment continued.

Responding to The Independent, Mr Middleton said: “Police were contacted shortly after our son was born as we became increasingly concerned by the activities surrounding a neighbour.

“West Berkshire Council became involved when our neighbour complained about noise from tractors and animals at the farm along with a series of other complaints.”

David Alderton, pictured, runs a motorcycle dealership
David Alderton, pictured, runs a motorcycle dealership (Motorcycle Trading/Facebook)

He went on to say that West Berkshire Council had found no reason to investigate any of what he termed the “disingenuous complaints”.

Mr Middleton also claimed: “Mr Alderton has a history of disputes with neighbours within the village. In 2017 he took legal action against the parish council and a parishioner, and intimidated locals for objecting to a series of planning applications, all of which were refused.”

Mr Alderton was approached twice by this publication but declined to respond. However, he told the Daily Mail in February 2023: “This month we have further been subjected to the unwelcome toxic and noxious ingress of fumes within our home from the clearly unsuitable machinery he uses.

“It’s a matter of public record that complaints have been made to the local council but nothing has been done.

James Middleton, pictured here as a child with his sister Kate, says he was forced to involve the police in the dispute
James Middleton, pictured here as a child with his sister Kate, says he was forced to involve the police in the dispute (James Middleton/Instagram)

“There are three barns full of old farmyard machinery, no good to anyone and it’s all going on 50ft from our front door.”

He added: “It’s ancient, noisy, dirty, smelly machinery, old Massey Fergusons, an old threshing machine, wood chipping machines, you name it.

“It’s a farm so I suppose he thinks he feels justified in having farm machinery even if it’s derelict. But he has a duty of care to his neighbours and the environment – it should not impact on people nearby.”

While Mr Alderton has accused his neighbour of using loud machinery and disturbing an area of outstanding natural beauty, Mr Middleton painted a different picture.

He said: “It is sad that someone who chooses to live in the countryside in a farming community cannot accept that from time to time there will be noise and smells from tractors and animals, especially if they live next to a farm.

“We would be neglecting our duty of responsibility for the animals and countryside if we did what he asked us to do to our livestock.”

Mr Middleton also alleges his neighbour used an offensive slur, and that he trespassed so often that Mr Middleton was forced to contact the police to create a record of Mr Alderton’s behaviour.

Pippa Matthews purchased Bucklebury Farm in 2020 with her husband James
Pippa Matthews purchased Bucklebury Farm in 2020 with her husband James (Getty)

Mr Middleton claimed there was another angry bust-up after his neighbour allegedly allowed a journalist to film over the property he shares with his wife, Alizee Thevenet, 33, and their son, Inigo, using a drone camera.

Meanwhile, the situation is said to have escalated further in July last year, when Mr Alderton allegedly visited the Middleton house while the family were on holiday.

According to a source familiar with the event, a friend who was housesitting was subjected to abuse when the family’s dogs scared their own guinea fowl, which then squawked loudly.

While their friend went into the barn to calm the birds down, according to the source, they were unable to act quickly enough to placate Mr Alderton, who the source said stormed over to the property and loudly shouted: “Shut those f***ing birds up you noisy c***,” leaving the housesitter deeply distressed.

Neighbours revealed that the furious outburst was apparently not the first time Mr Alderton was left enraged over clucking poultry. According to Mr Middleton, his neighbour was left spitting feathers over his “wandering cockerel”, which lost its way and found itself on Mr Alderton’s land.

Following the guinea fowl furore, Mr Alderton brought up the subject of a recent planning application Mr Middleton had objected to.

Alderton is alleged to have visited the Middleton house while the family were on holiday and shouted at their housesitter
Alderton is alleged to have visited the Middleton house while the family were on holiday and shouted at their housesitter (Motorcycle Trading/Facebook)

“We are 100% committed and focused on delivering this scheme, [and] given your impending family addition, are you really wishing to engage further time and energy on this?” Mr Alderton allegedly wrote.

The angry neighbour was apparently described as insulting and disparaging in the exchange.

According to a neighbour who was told of the correspondence, Mr Alderton continued: “I’m up for the fight chap, hope you are, it’s gonna get brutal.”

Unfortunately, the saga did not end there, with Mr Alderton allegedly setting tongues wagging in nearby villages by publicising the dispute with malicious posters.

The posters made malicious claims in reference to reports last year that the taxpayer would have to foot the bill after Carole Middleton’s children’s party-supplies business, Party Pieces, collapsed.

James Middleton grew up in nearby Bucklebury
James Middleton grew up in nearby Bucklebury (James Middleton/Instagram)

Referring to the collapse of the business, the posters demanded that the couple pay back those left in debt, with dozens of the A4 laminated pages stapled to trees, church noticeboards and lampposts.

“[Mr Alderton’s actions] bred animosity in the community, rumour, ill feeling, and caused myself and my family anxiety and distress,” Mr Middleton said.

Neighbours explained how Mr Middleton was forced to remove the posters by hand, and claimed that he had viewed CCTV that appeared to indicate that Mr Alderton had posted them around the village.

Middleton and his family say they want the harassment to stop
Middleton and his family say they want the harassment to stop (James Middleton/Instagram)

Ironically, publicly available documents from Companies House show that Mr Alderton’s first company went into liquidation in May 2014 with more than £70,000 owed to HMRC.

While it was reported that this money could not be recovered due to a lack of funds, at the same time, Mr Alderton was acting as a director of another company that sold motorbikes – set up two years before the first went into liquidation.

Even this did not spell the end of the feud. Last autumn, the Middleton family claim they faced more problems, including alleged reapplying of the posters, attempts to deliberately set off their security lights at night, and further alleged threats from Mr Alderton.

Mr Middleton told this publication he is saddened but also glad that the police are now looking into what has occurred.

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