Jeremy Clarkson finally receives council verdict over Diddly Squat farm changes
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Jeremy Clarkson will be a happy man this morning after a decision was made in his dispute with West Oxfordshire District Council regarding changes to Diddly Squat farm.
The Clarkson’s Farm star appealed against a decision by his local authority about changes to his farm, which is featured in the hit Amazon Prime series.
West Oxfordshire District Council took issue with the 63-year-old TV personality opening up a restaurant on the site and his plans to extend the car park.
Now, the Planning Inspectorate has granted permission for the extension and for changes to use of the land.
However, it did not allow for a restaurant to be built on the site, which may come as a blow to the former Top Gear presenter.
Inspector RJ Perrins wrote a report which outlines how the council objected to Mr Clarkson adapting the land ‘to a mixed agricultural and leisure attraction use, comprising café, restaurant, gift/farm shop, parking and lavatory facilities’.
Plans for the restaurant will have to be binned following the Inspector’s report, but at least Clarkson can extend the car park and ‘formalise temporary parking and provision of new access arrangements’.
The plans were opposed by West Oxfordshire District Council, which claimed that the proposed expansion would encourage more visitors to Diddly Squat farm, adding to traffic problems.
The high-profile hearing has grabbed the attention of fans and garnered plenty of media coverage.
Locals, who were both for and against the expansion, spoke at the hearing, with one resident telling the hearing Diddly Squat could be the ‘crown jewel in the local sustainable farming movement’.
Local butcher and Diddly Squat supplier Henry Lawrence said: “I would like to see a car park granted of the correct capacity, not only for the success of the farm shop, but for the success of local businesses too.
“Diddly Squat farm could be the crown jewel in the local sustainable farming movement.”
The report said the farm is a ‘victim of its own success’. It explained that the council’s description of the site as a leisure attraction did not reflect how the land was used ‘as it does not ask for an entrance fee’.
Inspector Perrins also said the site in its current form could not cope with parking demand, leading to people leaving their motors on adjacent fields, roads and verges.
The permission has been granted for three years and requires restoration of the site once the three years have passed.
As seen in the smash hit documentary series Clarkson’s Farm, The Grand Tour presenter opened a restaurant and began serving up food sourced from local farms.
Clarkson thought he'd found a 'delightful little loophole' in the regulations at the time, which would allow him to make and serve food on site, but the council said there had been an 'unlawful' change of use and ordered the restaurant to be shut down.