‘Very bad day’ Jeremy Clarkson ‘frustrated’ as Diddly Squat restaurant plans thrown out

Jeremy Clarkson promotes his Hawkstone Lager

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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, was planning on starting a restaurant at his West Oxfordshire farm, however plans were thrown out by the council today. The former Top Gear host faced an angry backlash from local residents over his ambition to expand the farm with more than 50 objections registered with the council.

It is diversification.

Jeremy Clarkson

There has been a long running feud between the Clarkson’s Farm star and his neighbours, over their distaste for further farm expansion.

Since Clarkson’s Farm hit Amazon Prime last year, the West Oxfordshire farm has become a tourist destination, creating lots of traffic, angering those in Chadlington.

Jeremy recently proposed a 70 space car park and a 60 seat cafe for Diddly Squat farm.

The presenter turned up in person at a meeting of West Oxon District Council today to make a personal plea to councillors to back his plans but this was not a success.

Jeremy said at the meeting, according to The Mirror: “It is diversification of a farming business. We have already started talking to our neighbouring farmers.”

He added: “Farmers look after the woodland, they look after the hedges, the streams and the fields – they keep it beautiful.

“Farmers are not going to be able to do that for much longer because of the farmer’s state of finances.

“We have been told as farmers to diversify – that is exactly what this proposal is.”

According to the Daily Star, Jeremy added the refusal would be a “very bad day for farming”.

Then asked how frustrated he was, he said: “Very, and so will all the local farmers.”

A total of 53 objections were received by the council, with another 12 letters of support.

Councillors at the West Oxon District Council meeting supported the planners recommendation to refuse permission on the grounds that the restaurant would be “out of keeping” with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Council planning officer Joan Desmond stated: “By reason of its siting, design, scale and location, the proposed development would not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in scale with the existing farming business or its open countryside location.”

She continued: “By reason of its design, scale, siting and nature of the use within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the proposed development would have a visually intrusive and harmful impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquillity of the area.”

Councillor Merilyn Davies said: “We have to support farmers and diversification, we live in a rural area.”

Councillor Dean Temple, who represents Chadlington, said it is a “very difficult case,” adding: “With a heavy heart, I propose we reject this proposal.”

Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt told the meeting: “There are plenty of less obtrusive places where one could have a restaurant.”

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) West Oxfordshire said any new restaurant would be a “major incursion” into the AONB and would “spoil the rural nature of the Upper Evenlode Valley”.

Jeremy’s representatives had already been forced to change transport plans for the scheme with a new one-way system and overflow car park to try and appease the mounting number of objectors.

He had also been served with a notice following complaints that the farm shop had breached original planning conditions by selling out-of-town souvenirs.

The council served the contravention notice after allegations that products sold in its shop were not grown, reared or produced on the farm, or from other local producers.

If proved, that would be in contravention of a condition of the planning permission in November 2019, the council said.

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