Council officials have rejected Jeremy Clarkson’s application for a plan for a restaurant on his Oxfordshire farm.
The TV host, 61, had filed an application with West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC), seeking to build a 50-cover restaurant with a kitchen, servery and seating area inside a lambing shed at Didley Squat Farm Went.
The plan documents stated that Clarkson wanted to “reuse the “low-use” shed to complement the agribusiness by providing a new outlet for agricultural produce as a cafe/restaurant.
The sheep shed was originally purchased for sheep herding, but has now been “merged with a neighboring landowner into a shared farming operation”, the planning document states, resulting in the shed. There has been an excess.
Plans also called for the expansion of the existing car park to provide capacity “for 60 to 70 cars” to cope with the increased visitor numbers.
But they were rejected by the WODC planning committee on Monday, according to the BBC.
Clarkson told the broadcaster that it was a “very bad day for farming”, as the plans were aimed at increasing farming and tourism in the local area.
A total of 69 public objections were made against the plans, with just 17 comments in support.
Common themes among objectors were around plans affecting traffic, with one resident writing: “Many locals believe it is only a matter of time until a serious accident occurs. “
Another person wrote: “Visitors park on the sidelines making two-way traffic impossible. The mud all over the road makes it very slippery and dangerous. People are walking in the middle of the road, and I’ve personally tried out Have taken oath to get out of their way.”
One resident accused Clarkson of “changing traditional rural life”, while another said the broadcaster’s farm shop resulted in “environmental damage to the village”.
Those backing the application said it would “boost” the surrounding area and bring more business and jobs.
Clarkson met residents in Chadlington in September after “gossip” had spread about his plans.
And a meeting of Chadlington Parish Council in November to discuss the plans was “inconclusive” due to the “divisive” nature of the farm.
The Diddley Squat became popular with visitors after appearing on the Amazon Prime series Clarkson’s Farm last June.
The former Top Gear star bought the farm in 2008 and was run by a villager, but when he retired in 2019, Clarkson decided to try running it himself.
The chain’s success has seen people flock to the farm store to buy products including “cow juice” (milk) and “bee juice” (honey).
In September, Clarkson acknowledged that the farm had “swamped” the village, but he told Jeremy Wines: “The shop in the village is doing better, the cafe in the village, the pub in the village – they’re all doing better.
“They’re swamped with the people but they’re swamped with the people who spend the money.”