Jeremy Clarkson suffers blow over plans to extend Diddly Squat farm
8th May 2022

Jeremy Clarkson suffers blow over plans to extend Diddly Squat farm shop as councillors refuse bid to increase size of car park from ten to 70 spaces

  • The former Top Gear presenter was looking to extend his farm shop’s car park
  • Local councillors said Clarkson’s proposed plans would have ‘harmful impact’
  • He films at Diddly Squat Farm Shop for Amazon Prime show Clarkson’s Farm
  • Many voiced support for the application, which was refused on Friday 6 May

Jeremy Clarkson has faced a blow to his Diddly Squat Farm Shop extension plans after councillors refused his watered-down planning application.

The former Top Gear presenter, 62, was looking to extend his shop’s car park sevenfold from ten to 70 spaces, but local councillors said that the proposed plans would have a ‘visually intrusive and harmful impact’ on the countryside, refusing Clarkson’s application.

Clarkson, who films at his own farm shop for Amazon Prime Video show Clarkson’s Farm, had faced around 30 objection comments from villagers with some citing concerns over traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford.

Yet an equal number voiced their support for the application, which was refused on Friday 6 May by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Explaining the decision, the council’s development manager, Abby Fettes, said: ‘By reason of its location, size and design 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.

‘[It] would have a visually intrusive and harmful impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquillity of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Wychwood Project Area.’

It is the second time Clarkson, who also stars with ex-Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond and James May in The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, has seen a planning application for his farm shop rejected this year.

Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) has faced a blow to his Oxfordshire Diddly Squat Farm Shop extension plans after councillors refused his watered-down planning application on Friday

In January, councillors refused permission for him to convert his lambing shed into a proposed 60-seater cafe and a car park with 70 spaces.

Some locals praised the plans as a welcome measure to stop visitors parking on nearby roads and have accused opponents of being motivated by ‘jealousy’.

But others have slammed the former Top Gear presenter for trying to create ‘a major tourist attraction’ in a peaceful rural area, calling his shop an ‘eyesore’.

Clarkson made a fresh application on March 2 to build the car park and introduce new entry and exit points for his farm shop.

It was argued in planning documents that there was not sufficient parking space to deal with the number of visitors.

Local residents have complained of ‘traffic chaos’ since Clarkson’s hit TV show Clarkson’s Farm aired last June.

Clarkson, who films at his own farm shop for Amazon Prime Video show Clarkson’s Farm, had faced around 30 objection comments from villagers with some citing concerns over traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford

The presenter’s new plans involve trying to reduce congestion and visitors parking on the road by creating a new parking area marked out by straw bales where around 60 cars can park with an additional four disabled spaces and cycle parking. 

The plans include a tarmac surfaced entrance and separate exit, a fenced paddock screened from the road by a new hedgerow and wildflower margins to ‘create a soft buffer between crops and the farm shop’. 

It also proposes the building of 1.8m tall willow hurdles and hedgerows of native species such as Acer Campestre, Malus Sylvestris and Quercus Robur to screen off the car park. 

But planning documents reveal that many local residents fear that the site is being over developed. 

The parish council objected to the application, saying it ‘would remove some, but not all, vehicles from the road given the visitor numbers experienced, and would not reduce the current number of vehicle movements in the area which is a safety concern’.

Thames Valley Police’s crime prevention design advisor Kevin Cox said the applicant must provide details of what would be done to control parking at busy times to stop ‘safety issues and disruption and a subsequent demand on police resourcing as seen previously’.

However, those in favour said parking facilities for the farm shop are much needed and will ease pressure on surrounding roads while boosting the local economy.

The plans, which have been rejected, showed a new entrance and exit system, with hedgerows proposed to be planted and the number of parking spaces increased

A 10-space car park was approved for the shop last year, but it quickly overflowed after the farm’s popularity boomed following the release of the Amazon Prime Video series Clarkson’s Farm

One resident seemed resigned to the ongoing development of the site and said that people may have ‘reluctantly concluded that the best option is to support this application given everyone’s concerns for averting a bad accident’.

Nigel Winser, from Chadlington, wrote in his letter of objection: ‘If the Farm Shop was loyal to selling local farm produce, the small car park is appropriate. 

‘Alas the shop is already selling souvenirs, that attract large number of buyers from all corners of the UK.

‘This trend will continue to grow year on year, with increasing number of national and international buyers. Good for tourism, but not for sustainable farming in a beautiful area of national importance, for nature. 

‘Permission for this car park, will be the thin end of wedge, known as “planning creep”. 

‘Visitor numbers will grow, a large restaurant will be established, high lighting will have to be added and before long, this will become a major UK visitor attraction, bringing increased road safety and environmental risks to the whole valley.’

A 10-space car park was approved for the shop last year, but it quickly overflowed after the farm’s popularity boomed following the release of Clarkson’s Farm. 

Chadlington resident Michael Cooper, claimed in his comments that the plans showed ‘no respect or consideration’ for neighbours or the fact that the site was in an area of outstanding beauty. 

He added: ‘The planned entrance and exit will not necessarily improve road safety and traffic flow. With an extra ‘pinch point’ and being so close together there is the potential for additional issues and accidents.’ 

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