An enforcement notice came from West Oxfordshire District Council on August 11, asking for the Clarkson’s Farm presenter to make several changes to his land. This included stopping the sale of food through a cafe and restaurant, as well as the “sale or provision of food or drinks to members of the public for consumption on the land”.
It also added that the ex-Top Gear presenter would have to remove any portable toilets, tables, and ‘landscaping materials’ that could potentially be used by diners.
The reason behind this? According to the council, this would be “unlawful” use of the land, adding that its ‘nature, scale and siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its countryside location within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Classic.
Last Thursday saw Clarkson getting accused of “ignoring” the council’s demands, and now fans arrived at the land seeing the restaurant and cafe being shut down. Dan Duffy, owner of a renewable energy company, commented on this according to the MailOnline:
“I think the objections must be down to jealousy as I don’t see how anyone could complain about a restaurant here, it’s a beautiful spot.”
On top of this, the council has banned the sale of any products outside a 16-mile radius of the site, or products that the council simply doesn’t like.
Unfortunately for Clarkson, the development is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where such things aren’t allowed, despite the government forcing farmers to diversify their revenue streams to stay afloat.
Local Conservative councillor Dean Temple told Clarkson the following:
“I told him that if he wanted to open the restaurant on the other side of the road that would be alright because it is not covered by AONB rules.
“But I think he was after the confrontation because it would be good for his ratings so he went into battle against us.”
“He’s an amazing fella but what he was asking for was not in the rules and we cannot make exceptions for him.
“We have worked with him for a year and a half but he is in breach of planning rules and a formal legal notice was served on him two weeks ago.”
Clarkson previously opened a -not-a-restaurant, to try and get around the loopholes put in place by the council. He then invited a number of people to eat there while it was also being filmed for the next series of Clarkson’s Farm. One objector, who was invited to eat, said the following:
“He invited 40 of us from the village and served us seven courses cooked by an award winning chef.
“It was all filmed for his Amazon programme and the restaurant itself lasted barely a week. It was simply for the benefit of the cameras.
“He is just constantly pushing the rules. He is not allowed to sell anything in his shop that is not made locally but he wants to sell his merchandise so he charges £20 for a potato and gives them a t-shirt for free.
“He put it out that he was closing as a mark of respect for the Queen’s funeral but he never opened on Monday anyway. That’s how he chases publicity.”
A spokesperson of the council said the following:
“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.”
An inspector will decide the appeal against the enforcement notice, with The John Phillips Planning Consultancy arguing on September 9th that existing planning permission gives them the right to operate a farm restaurant and with no “material change” to the land, this still stands. They also added that the map of the land produced by the council was incorrect.
The appeal reads as the following:
“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.”
Another source at the council told MailOnline:
“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.”