Jeremy Clarkson is no stranger to stirring up controversy, and his Diddly Squat Farm Shop in Chadlington is no exception. While some locals may consider it a tourist attraction, others say it has become a nightmare, with traffic problems and loud engines now the norm.
Some local residents claim that even if they could make it inside without queuing for hours, they still wouldn’t due to the overpriced goods for sale, which are “mainly merchandise”. But speaking out against the farm shop comes with a price, as some residents have reportedly received death threats and malicious messages from around the world.
One resident said:
“We don’t use the shop simply because I don’t want to stand in the queue for three hours. It’s a lot of traffic to get in as well, and I don’t think it’s worth it. His shop is really controversial around here.”
Residents have also complained that the goods sold in the shop are overpriced and mainly merchandise. They argue that before the shop was opened, Jeremy Clarkson used to sell potatoes at the end of the road in an honesty box, which they thought was lovely. Another resident explained to media:
“I’ve got real shops 50 yards away – why would I ever go to Diddly Squat?
“We’ve got a fantastic farm shop, a café, a pub. Everything we need.
“He is disgraceful. It’s not really a farm shop, it’s really a tourist attraction. He’s mainly selling merchandise.
“Before he opened the shop he used to put potatoes at the end of the road in an honesty box, they were actually lovely.
“But now he’s opened the shop the whole thing is a nuisance. The roads around the farm shop are completely destroyed and there’s so much traffic here as a result.
“Honestly, I can hear the difference between a Lamborghini and a Ferrari now because I hear so many of the cars.”
Jeremy Clarkson’s farm shop has also been described as more of a tourist attraction than a farm shop. Some people just don’t want their peaceful village blighted by this. The Grand Tour host’s argument is that he is fighting for approval for a car part to ensure visitors do not park on the grass verges, however, this so far has been rejected.
The row over car parking has intensified in recent months as the shop becomes more and more famous. The farm’s lack of suitable parking facilities to cater for such an influx of customers has become a real issue.
One resident said:
“They are churning up the verges, and everything around the perimeter of the shop is looking a bit of a mess. Mr. Clarkson definitely needs to create some place on his land where shoppers can park up safely.”
Jeremy Clarkson is currently locked in a planning appeal battle with West Oxfordshire District Council, which refused to grant permission for him to extend the shop’s car park. The council is concerned that allowing more vehicles would further disturb the tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Clarkson’s supporters say that the shop provides important education for visitors, they’ve even described it as the crown jewel of sustainable living and are pleading with the council to allow the expansion plans.