Jeremy Clarkson has been backed by fellow farmers, food producers and local residents in Oxfordshire after his plan to build a hilltop restaurant was rejected by council.
The Amazon Prime star, 61, said he was ‘very’ frustrated after local authorities turned down his bid to build a new restaurant and 70-space car park on the site of his 1-acre Diddly Squat farm. 000 acres near the quiet village of Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
Mr Clarkson personally attended a meeting of West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning sub-committee on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to press ahead with his plans, but seven out of ten councilors voted against the plans.
The Grand Tour host left the meeting saying it was a bad day for farmers and called one of the planning officers a comedian.
But he has found support in his community among those who say council planners are dismissive of new ideas in agriculture.
Jeremy Clarkson has been backed by fellow farmers, food producers and local residents in Oxfordshire after his plans to build a hilltop restaurant were rejected
Pete Ledbury, who operates the North Cotswolds dairy with his wife Emma a few miles from Diddly Squat Farm, said The Guardian: ‘We know that we need to diversify to earn a living and create more jobs for the countryside.
“Turn down projects like this doesn’t help. I think that’s pretty myopic on the part of the planners.
His wife Emma said their farm had lost 40 of their herd of 100 purebred Holstein cattle to bovine tuberculosis in recent years, as she highlighted the pressure farmers are currently facing.
A liter of milk costs them 32 pence to produce, and supermarket buyers currently pay them 28 pence a litre.
TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial bid to expand his popular Diddly Squat farm failed after councilors rejected his bid
She said: “British agriculture is a mess.”
Clarkson overcame some of these obstacles by selling directly to the customer through a vending machine in his farm store.
He hoped to include his own products including milk, cream and butter in his restaurant before his plans were rejected.
Another Cotswold resident, Max Abbott, owner of the Sourdough Revolution bakery in Lechdale, had hoped to supply bread for Clarkson’s future restaurant.
He said: “Jeremy employs people, makes money. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but what the council is doing seems absurd.
Pictured: The landscape proposal for Diddly Squat Farm including a 70-vehicle car park
Pictured: The plantation proposal for the cafe which would sit just behind its current farm shop on the site
Victoria Steffens, who works at the store in the village of Chadlington, says it’s mainly newcomers who are unhappy with Clarkson because of the levels of traffic his farming success has brought to the area.
Describing the TV personality as a “marmite”, she said she always supports him in providing jobs to the area and locals who have been there for a long time know the hardships farmers face.
Meanwhile, District Councilor Merilyn Davies, who backed Clarkson’s proposals, said the plans were ‘interesting’ and said officials needed to remember that people live in the area and need to support themselves .
Over 50 objections were registered with the council over fears of increased traffic in the village following the success of its 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 queuing for hours to enter Clarkson’s beloved farm shop. the star.
Since the Amazon Prime show debuted last summer, hundreds of Clarkson fans from across Britain have queued for hours to enter the star’s beloved farm shop.
A neighbor even sued the restaurant’s plans, alleging the area was at risk of becoming a “Jeremy Clarkson theme park.”
At Monday’s meeting, Mr Clarkson insisted he was simply trying to ‘diversify’ his business and warned that farmers would not be able to properly care for the natural environment due to their finances.
“Farmers take care of the forest, they take care of the hedgerows, the streams and the fields, they keep it beautiful,” he said.
“Farmers won’t be able to do this much longer because of the state of farmers’ finances. As farmers, we’ve been told to diversify — that’s exactly what this proposal is.
Although councilors at the meeting were divided over Mr Clarkson’s proposals, local officials agreed to refuse permission.
They argued the cafe would be ‘incompatible’ with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Mr Clarkson personally attended a meeting of West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning sub-committee in a last-ditch attempt to push his plans forward.
His pleas fell on deaf ears, with seven in ten councilors voting against the measures
Locals are divided over the tourism boom, with some saying it has put the Oxfordshire village on the map and boosted the local economy
Council planning officer Joan Desmond said: ‘Due to its location, design, scale and location, the proposed development would not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in terms of scale with the existing farm business or its location in the countryside.
“Due to its design, scale, location and nature of use within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the proposed development would have an intrusive and detrimental visual impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and the tranquility of the region.”
Councilor Dean Temple, who represents Chadlington, told the meeting: “With a heavy heart, I move that we reject this proposal.”
And Councilor Elizabeth Poskitt added: ‘There are plenty of less intrusive places where you 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 farming business. It has now been merged with another local farmer’s herd.
Documents indicate that the building has since been used, without planning permission, as a cafe and bar.
Chadlington Parish Council said it held a public meeting in November to decide its views on the “diverse and controversial” request, but a vote was inconclusive.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England West Oxfordshire said any new restaurant would be a ‘major incursion’ into the AONB and ‘spoil the rural nature of the upper Evenlode Valley’.
Representatives for Mr Clarkson had already been forced to change transport plans for the project with a new one-way system and overflow parking in an attempt to appease the growing number of objectors.
He had also received notice following complaints that the farm shop had breached the original layout terms by selling souvenirs from out of town.
The council served the notice of violation amid allegations that products sold at its store were not grown, raised or produced on the farm, or by other local producers.
If proven, it would breach a condition of the November 2019 planning permission, council warned.