‘It’s a very bad day for farming’ says Jeremy Clarkson as he is REFUSED planning permission to build a café and a 70-space car park at his Diddly Squat farm despite turning up council meeting to personally plead his case
- TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s bid to expand his Diddly Squat farm has failed
- Amazon Prime star, 61, met officials at a meeting of West Oxon District Council
- He wants to build a restaurant and 70-space car park at his Cotswolds farm
- But locals are upset about the surge in tourism following his show’s debut
TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson furiously branded today a ‘very bad day for farming’ after his controversial bid to expand his popular Diddly Squat farm was quashed by councillors.
The Amazon Prime star, 61, said he was ‘very’ frustrated after local officials refused his attempt to build a new restaurant and 70-space car park on the site of his 1,000-acre farm near the quiet village of Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
Mr Clarkson personally attended a meeting of West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning sub-committee today in a last-ditch attempt to push his plans through.
However, his passionate pleas fell on deaf ears, with seven out of ten councillors voting against the measures.
The ex-Top Gear host has faced a considerable backlash among locals over his plans, with more than 50 objections registered with the council over fears of increased traffic in the village following the success of his hit series Clarkson’s Farm.
Since the Amazon show’s debut last summer, hundreds of Clarkson fans from across Britain have caused traffic chaos by queueing for hours at a time to get inside the star’s beloved farm shop.
Locals are split about the surge in tourism, with some saying it has put the Oxfordshire village on the map and boosted the local economy. Others are concerned that the farm’s expansion could transform the community for the worse.
TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial bid to expand his popular Diddly Squat farm has failed after councillors rejected his application
The ex-Top Gear host has faced a considerable backlash among locals over his plans, with more than 50 objections registered with the council over fears of increased traffic in the village following the success of his hit series Clarkson’s Farm
Since the Amazon Prime show’s debut last summer, hundreds of Clarkson fans from across Britain have queued for hours at a time to get inside the star’s beloved farm shop
One neighbour even brought a legal challenge against the restaurant plans, alleging that the area was in danger of becoming a ‘Jeremy Clarkson theme park’.
At today’s meeting, Mr Clarkson insisted that he is simply trying to ‘diversify’ his business and warned that farmers will be unable to properly look after the natural environment because of their finances.
‘Farmers look after the woodland, they look after the hedges, the streams and the fields, they keep it beautiful,’ he said.
‘Farmers are not going to be able to do that for much longer because of the farmers’s state of finances. We have been told as farmers to diversify — that is exactly what this proposal is.’
Though councillors at the meeting were split over Mr Clarkson’s proposals, local officials agreed to refuse permission.
They argued that the cafe would be ‘out of keeping’ with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Mr Clarkson personally attended a meeting of West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning sub-committee today in a last-ditch attempt to push his plans through
His pleas fell on deaf ears, with seven out of ten councillors voting against the measures
Locals are split about the surge in tourism, with some saying it has put the Oxfordshire village on the map and boosted the local economy
Council planning officer Joan Desmond said: ‘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.
‘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 Dean Temple, who represents Chadlington, told the meeting: ‘With a heavy heart, I propose we reject this proposal.’
And councillor Elizabeth Poskitt added: ‘There are plenty of less obtrusive places where one could have a restaurant.’
The TV presenter had hoped to convert a lambing shed built in 2020 after buying a new flock of sheep to expand the farm business. It has now been merged with another local farmer’s flock.
Documents state that the building has since been used, without planning permission, as a cafe and a bar area.
Chadlington Parish Council said it held a public meeting in November to decide its view on the ‘divisive and contentious’ application, but a vote was inconclusive.
Campaign to Protect Rural England 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’.
Mr Clarkson’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 amid 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 warned.
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