Jeremy Clarkson is ordered to SHUT his Diddly Squat Farm restaurant and café
Furious council bosses today accused Jeremy Clarkson of ‘ignoring’ its orders and continuing to operate the ‘unlawful’ cafe and restaurant on his Diddly Squat Farm.
An enforcement notice by West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC), published on August 11, told the presenter he had six weeks to make a number of changes to the Chadlington site, which features in his hit Amazon Prime series, Clarkson’s Farm.
This included ceasing use of any part of the land as a restaurant or cafe, and the general ‘sale or provision of food or drinks to members of the public for consumption on the land’.
The local authority also said the former Top Gear host should remove all portable toilets and all tables that would be used by diners, as well as ‘landscaping materials’.
It described an ‘unlawful’ use of the farm and said its ‘nature, scale and siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its countryside location within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
Furthermore, the town hall has banned the sale of products, except those that are made on the farm, those made within a 16-mile radius of it, or others that the council has allowed.
Mr Clarkson’s restaurant had only just opened earlier this summer after months of wrangling, claiming a ‘delightful little loophole’ had allowed him to circumvent traditional planning laws.
The outspoken television star had previously blasted locals who ‘wear red trousers’ for objecting the lofty development plans for his successful Diddly Squat enterprise.
Agents working on behalf of Mr Clarkson, 62, and the farm have denied any breach of planning laws and are appealing the order, describing the council’s demands as ‘excessive’ in documents sent last month.
The council hit back today with a strongly-worded statement, slamming the presenter for not following its orders.
Jeremy Clarkson is appealing an order to close his Diddly Squat cafe and restaurant after council bosses claimed the business breached planning laws
A spokesperson said: ‘West Oxfordshire District Council served an enforcement notice on the owners of Diddly Squat Farm in respect of planning breaches on the site on August 12, 2022.
‘Council officers have worked with the owner and planning agents of the business, over many months, to investigate breaches in planning control, advising on how the business can be operated in a lawful way and trying to reach a solution.
‘The business continues to operate outside the planning permissions granted and advice has been ignored. The activity has also had a significant impact on the local community.
‘The council is pursuing enforcement action to ensure that planning laws are followed on the site in the same way as they would be for any other business operating across the district and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
‘It is the responsibility of the council to ensure that planning laws and processes are followed correctly. Over recent years the business has had several planning applications approved, where they are in line with national and local planning policy, and also some refused where they are not.
‘We work constructively and successfully with many businesses across West Oxfordshire, including farms, to help them operate within the national and local planning laws and policies that exist to protect the countryside and local communities.
‘The enforcement notice instructs the owners of the business to stop activity in breach of planning control.
‘The council has recently become aware that the owners of Diddly Squat Farm have appealed the enforcement notice, which is common practice in planning enforcement cases.’
It added an inspector will decide the appeal and the council will explain why it ‘considers the notice should be upheld and the appeal dismissed’.
The John Phillips Planning Consultancy wrote in their September 9 appeal against the enforcement notice that existing planning permission gives them the right to use the farm as a restaurant, and there has been no ‘material change’ to the land.
Bosses added that the map of the site produced by the council was incorrect and claimed the notice period provided wasn’t long enough to carry out the work required.
The appeal reads: ‘The suggested six week period is too short and would have serious and detrimental impacts on the business and livelihoods of those employed at the site. Six months is a more reasonable timeframe.’
The agents concluded that the order ‘should be quashed in its entirety as a result’.
He was told to cease use of any part of the land as a restaurant or cafe, and the general ‘sale or provision of food or drinks to members of the public for consumption on the land’
Papers served by the Planning Inspectorate show it has accepted Mr Clarkson’s appeal as valid and that representations must be made in coming weeks.
It is believed Mr Clarkson thought he was able to operate the restaurant after making changes to a barn on his land using a clause which allowed the use of farm structures to be tweaked from their original purpose without council-approved planning permission.
But WODC said in August it was investigating the restaurant after councillors rejected its initial planning application in January.
One council source, who refused to comment on the local authority’s ongoing investigation, told MailOnline at the time: ‘The council’s view is that the same planning rules should apply to everybody.
‘We will treat Jeremy Clarkson in the exact same way as any other resident of West Oxfordshire.’
On Clarkson’s Farm, the star works on his 1,000 acre plot of land, located between Chipping Norton and Chadlington in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside in Oxfordshire.
The former petrol-head appears to have settled for a serene farming lifestyle as part of his new hit Amazon Prime series.
But the show’s roaring success – and the opening of the popular farm shop – created chaos for villagers who complained of visitors clogging up the country roads.
Mr Clarkson’s representatives have been approached for further comment.