The Yorkshire-born TV star, Jeremy Clarkson has had plans for a hilltop restaurant on his farm in Oxfordshire rejected by the council. The Clarkson’s Farm presenter had hoped to turn his lambing shed built-in 2020 into a restaurant on his 1,000-acre farm but was left ‘frustrated’ after local officials refused permission.
The 61-year-old, who is trying to diversify his farm was attempting to build a new restaurant and 70-space car park on the site of Diddly Squat farm near the quiet village of Chadlington, Oxfordshire. Clarkson attended West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning sub-committee on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to push his plans through, but it was voted down by 7 out of 10 councillors.
Following backlash amongst locals, council planning officers recommended it shouldn’t be built and Clarkson hit back in his Sunday Times column saying “It was horrific. They didn’t seem to have any facts to hand and one of them wondered why I couldn’t open the cafe on someone else’s farm. Mostly, though, they seemed to be extremely bothered by the fact that the barn was in an area of outstanding beauty, not understanding perhaps that it’s only beautiful because farmers keep it that way.”
He continued by saying “They also seemed concerned about how much lighting would be needed and how this would affect the night skies. Not as much as nearby RAF Brize Norton does, I thought, but I wasn’t allowed to speak.”
He commented on a man called Phil who made a speech about the harm the eatery would cause saying: “Of course I get where he’s coming from. Nobody ever left university saying, ‘I want to run a subcommittee at my local council’. So I understand that he’s constantly disappointed with how life has turned out for him. As a result he will see this vote as a tremendous victory for the downtrodden little man who took on, and beat, the man off the telly.”
There was support from local farmers. Pete Ledbury, who farms at the North Cotswolds Dairy down from Diddly Squat farm, told The Guardian: ‘We know that we have to diversify to make a living and create more jobs for the countryside.
‘Turning down projects like this doesn’t help. I think it’s pretty shortsighted of the planners.’
He runs the farm with his wife Emma who said their farm lost 40 of their 100-strong herd of pedigree holstein cattle to the bovine tuberculosis in recent years. She continued by saying a litre of milk costs them 32p to produce, and supermarket buyers are currently paying them 28p a litre.
Stating that ‘British farming is a mess.’
Though councillors at the meeting were split over Mr Clarkson’s proposals, local officials agreed to refuse permission.