Jeremy Clarkson's bid to buy Cotswolds pub has locals buzzing

Jeremy Clarkson has his eye on purchasing an 18th century pub in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds
Jeremy Clarkson has his eye on purchasing an 18th century pub in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds -Credit:Mark Williamson/Country Life/Getty Images

Popular television personality Jeremy Clarkson's desire to purchase a local pub in a bid to "champion British farming" has received a positive response from villagers in Cotswolds, despite potential concerns of increased tourist traffic.

Reports suggest that Clarkson, who is the owner of Diddly Squat Farm, harbours an interest in acquiring the Coach and Horses Inn, a Grade II listed facility in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire.

According to town representatives, who have reportedly been having discussions with the current leaseholders, Hawkstone Brewery, the 66-year-old intends to use the pub as a platform to support the local farming community, but will remain respectful of the concerns of neighbours about noise pollution.

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However, local councillor Jon Wareing shared his worries about highway issues in the area which are already problematic, and suggests that Clarkson's takeover of the pub might substantially elevate traffic levels, hence requiring necessary mitigation actions.

He noted: "As far as Jeremy Clarkson's intentions with the pub are concerned, I understand he's passionate about championing British farming, and one way to do that is to ensure a local pub serves locally produced food and drinks in a family atmosphere with affordable pricing."

The councillor then endorsed initiatives that assist our local farming community, stating: "I'm totally supportive of measures that support our local farming community - they continue to have a really tough time of things - and we have great local meats, cheeses, and other fresh produce that we should be celebrating."

Mr Wareing, discussing the traffic situation in the village, noted that parking scarcity is already a significant issue for the picturesque village, known for its low bridges, traditional stone houses, and riverside setting, reports the Express.

Locals have welcomed the planned takeover, due to Clarkson's promise to "champion British farming"
Locals have welcomed the planned takeover, due to Clarkson's promise to "champion British farming" -Credit:Stonegate Group

He added: "On a sunny weekend, particularly Bank Holiday weekends, the Fosseway is frequently gridlocked between Moreton-in-Marsh, through Stow-on-the-Wold, and on to Bourton-on-the-Water. With Jeremy Clarkson's popularity, if he were to have bought the Coach and Horses, who knows how much more additional traffic would be generated?

"Bourton-on-the-Water already has major issues with visitor traffic, and we desperately need a park and walk/ride car park on the periphery of the village, so the centre of the village does not get gridlocked. It can easily take you 50 minutes to traverse the village. Imagine if you need an ambulance in an emergency. It doesn't bear thinking about."

However, some locals expressed optimism about the rumoured takeover, and the potential boost from Clarkson's popularity. Edward Charnel, who operates the Bloody Bourton Walking Tour, told the Express: "I think it would be very good for the village. It's going to bring tourists in.

"People visit the farm because Jeremy Clarkson owns it. The brewery gets more visitors now because of him. We need visitors so local businesses can make money. I'm all for it."

Rob Grant-Smith, co-owner of the Broadlands Hotel, also expressed his enthusiasm about the potential new ownership of the local pub, adding: "It would be great if he were to get hold of the pub. He would have a big following going down there.

"He's done good highlighting farming issues with Diddly Squat Farm. I wouldn't object to it."

Both Mr Grant-Smith and Mr Charnel acknowledged that traffic could become a concern - although they noted that being situated on a main trunk road means the village is accustomed to such pressures.

The Coach and Horses Inn, which faces Hawkstone Brewery, was recently granted a new premises licence by Cotswold District Council. Owned by Stonegate Group, this 18th-century establishment has been permitted to serve alcohol from 11am to 11pm every day of the week.

Reports indicate that the Coach and Horses Inn operates as a tenanted pub and will eventually be leased out, with marketing currently underway on Stonegate's website. Locals recall the venue previously operating as both a pub and curry house.

But councillors worry about the impact it may have on traffic through the village
But councillors worry about the impact it may have on traffic through the village -Credit:Brett Charlton/Getty Images

In March, Jeremy Clarkson is said to have engaged with Gloucestershire County Council regarding traffic concerns related to the site. Stonegate's application for a new licence for the Coach and Horses came about due to the previous licence having expired, necessitating a new one before the property could change hands.

Mr Wareing reflected on the process, stating: "The Stonegate licence application was toned down following a constructive meeting with the Parish Council earlier in the year. It was not the intention to turn the Coach and Horses into a nightclub or an open-air cinema as it turned out. The revised licence application was subsequently approved by the licensing committee of CDC (Cotswolds District Council)."

Concerns about noise complaints have also been raised, following initial plans for events at Hawkstone Brewery which were withdrawn after sparking concerns among villagers.

The brewery's licence extension application for its tap-room was intended to accommodate large-scale events for up to 4,000 people, according to Mr Wareing. However, it was "recognised as being excessive", and thus withdrawn by the brewery.

Mr Wareing commented: "I've found the management at Hawkstone Brewery to be really co-operative in their desire to be a good neighbour. Largely the reputation of the brewery has been very positive, with local people welcoming a convivial outdoor space to enjoy the locally produced cider and beers with a selection of street food offerings.

"The main problem has been noise that carries from some of the events last year, where nearby residents were being disturbed late into the night with loud music, and stand-up comedy with offensive language, being audible indoors to families with young children on neighbouring estates.

"This was clearly unacceptable, and the Hawkstone management team are now on top of this situation. The other issue was light pollution from strings of lights that were being left on through the night. Again, this has been dealt with. A dialogue between the brewery and local residents is ongoing."

Currently, it's understood that the Coach and Horses remains a potential venue for Hawkstone Brewery, albeit "on hold" - yet future collaborations could offer an agreeable solution to all parties involved.

Mr Wareing concluded: "In the future, maybe there is the possibility that Hawkstone Brewery could be part of the solution to getting visitor parking out of the centre of the village. That could be a great win-win scenario for all concerned.

"It might also address the issue of where the coaches that visit Bourton could park, and drop-off/pick up their passengers, now that there is no longer any managed provision for coach parking in the village.

"My experience on this illustrates the importance of open and constructive dialogue with all parties, ensuring you are dealing with facts and not rumours, and above all putting the interests of residents front and centre."