Jeremy Clarkson ordered to close Diddly Squat Farm dining areas over ‘planning breach’

Entertainment

Jeremy Clarkson has been ordered to shut the restaurant and cafe at his farm in Oxfordshire over what the local council says is a breach of planning laws.

The 62-year-old broadcaster is appealing after receiving an enforcement notice from West Oxfordshire District Council in August.

Clarkson‘s Diddly Squat Farm in Chadlington has become well known since the launch of the Clarkson’s Farm TV series in June 2021.

Jeremy Clarkson in Clarkson's Farm. Pic: Amazon Prime Video
Image:
Pic: Amazon Prime Video

He opened the farm restaurant in July – six months after an application was rejected by the council.

In its enforcement notice over the “material change of use”, the authority said the parking, toilets, and traffic are “visually intrusive and harmful to the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquillity” of the Cotswold AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty).

“The unlawful use of Diddly Squat Farm by reason of its nature, scale and siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its open countryside location,” the notice stated.

Clarkson was told to shut the restaurant, or anything selling food to be consumed on the farm, and also ordered to remove dining tables, chairs, parasols and picnic tables.

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The notice was due to come into effect on 12 September subject to an appeal, which the former Top Gear presenter lodged a few days beforehand.

Agents for Clarkson say the council’s decision is “excessive” and that the developments at the property are not in breach of planning laws.

In their appeal, the John Phillips Planning Consultancy said there has been no “material change” to the land and that the sale of food and use of tables and chairs is all “lawful”.

“The appellant will demonstrate that the proposals would not be visually intrusive or harmful to the rural character of the area or the scenic beauty or tranquillity,” of the area, their grounds of appeal notice said.

They also said it would take longer than the six weeks given by the council to remove the items.

Clarkson bought the farm in 2008 but it was previously run by a villager. However, in 2019 he decided to give it a go himself.

Following the success of Clarkson’s Farm, which followed his antics for a year and was renewed for a second series, visitors have flocked to the shop there to buy products such as Cow Juice, rapeseed oil, chutneys and jams.

Some neighbours have been left annoyed by the amount of shoppers who have queued for hours to purchase goods, according to previous reports.

In September 2021, Clarkson admitted the farm had “swamped” the village, but he told Jeremy Vine: “The village shop is doing better, the cafe in the village, the pub in the village – they are all doing better.

“They are swamped with people but they are swamped with people spending money.”

The Planning Inspectorate, a government agency, has said his appeal is valid and accepted it, with final comments from both the council and Clarkson to be submitted by the end of November.

A date for a hearing is yet to be set.

Sky News has contacted representatives for Clarkson for comment.

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