Jeremy Clarkson contesting notice to shut dining areas at Diddly Squat Farm

Jeremy Clarkson bought the farm in 2008. (PA Images via Getty Images)
Jeremy Clarkson bought the farm in 2008. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Jeremy Clarkson is appealing against an enforcement notice after he was told to shut the cafe and restaurant at his Diddly Squat Farm amid an ongoing planning row.

The former Top Gear presenter, 62, declared his "mostly outdoors and very rustic" restaurant open in July, but it came under scrutiny from West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC).

WODC took action in August, saying in its enforcement notice that the parking, toilets, traffic, along with the dining was “visually intrusive and harmful” to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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“The unlawful use of Diddly Squat Farm by reason of its nature, scale and siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its open countryside location,” the council stated.

It then ordered the shutting of the restaurant or anything selling food that will be consumed on the farm - which is in Chipping Norton and features in Amazon Prime show Clarkson's Farm - and also ordered the removal of the dining tables, chairs, parasols, picnic tables and mobile toilet.

The Diddly Squat Farm Shop near Chipping Norton belonging to TV star Jeremy Clarkson in Chipping Norton, Oxford, England on August 13, 2022. Opened in 2020 by Jeremy Clarkson, the Diddly Squat Farm Shop is a Cotswolds-based emporium of edible delights and is visited by hundreds of the TV Star's fans each day close to the village of Chadlington.
The Diddly Squat Farm Shop. (Getty) (James D. Morgan via Getty Images)

In the enforcement notice, it said there should be no retail food sold that doesn't come from the farm, within 16-mile (25.7km) of the farm or that has been allowed by the council, and also said the converted barn, where the restaurant is housed, must be returned to its original state.

The BBC quoted the council as saying in a statement: "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."

Agents working on the farm's behalf have denied it breached planning laws.

Jeremy Clarkson attends the Amazon Prime Video launch event for Clarkson's Farm at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Picture date: Wednesday June 9, 2021.
Diddly Squat features in Clarkson's Farm. (PA) (PA)

The Planning Inspectorate has accepted Clarkson’s appeal and is yet to set a date for a hearing.

Clarkson had previously applied to convert a lambing shed into a restaurant on the rural site, but his proposals were rejected in January.

The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host, who bought the farm in 2008, then told The Times that he had discovered he could use a different barn.

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He said: "We found a cunning little loophole... You can write to your council and inform them that you are changing a barn’s use, it’s called permitted development."

A representative for Clarkson has been contacted for comment.

Additional reporting from PA.

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