Jeremy Clarkson ditches farm restaurant plan after council row

09 January 2023 by
Jeremy Clarkson ditches farm restaurant plan after council row

Jeremy Clarkson has confirmed he will not look to reopen a restaurant on his Oxfordshire farm, following a planning battle with the local council.

The television presenter opened the cafe and restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm in July 2022 despite initial planning applications being rejected, claiming he had found a "loophole" in the regulations.

But West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) issued an enforcement notice on 12 August 2022 which ordered the restaurant to close.

Clarkson had appealed the notice but has since written to the council to state that he "no longer wished" to open the restaurant.

In a letter the presenter-turned-farmer said: "I had read about something called mob grazing. This is a highly ecological way of rejuvenating the soil, using the muck from hens and cows, rather than chemical fertilisers.

"The problem was that if I sold the cows in the conventional way, I'd lose about £200 on each one. So I decided that to make a profit, the beef should be cooked and served in a restaurant, which I'd create by converting our lambing barn.

"Permission for this was refused. And our attempts to get round the problem by using permitted development rights, and opening up in our so-called Lowland Barn were thwarted by the enforcement notice we are appealing today.

"As a result of this, I've had to sell most of the cows I bought. And now I'm back to using chemicals. I no longer wish to open a restaurant."

Clarkson has also opened a shop and mobile food van at the Chadlington farm, which featured in the Amazon Prime Video documentary Clarkson's Farm and has attracted large numbers of tourists to the area.

In his letter Clarkson acknowledged the influx in visitors has had an impact on local residents and asked the council to approve plans for car parking provision to help management of the situation.

He added: "We do not wish to expand the on-site businesses any further. We are perfectly happy with what we have. A little shop, and the lambing barn, which can be used for lambing in the spring and as a place for people to sit in the summer while they have food and a glass of our own beer from the mobile van."

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