Jeremy Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter and current host of Clarkson’s Farm, has been forced to close down his Diddly Squat Farm Restaurant after receiving numerous complaints from the local residents in Chadlington as well as the council. The West Oxfordshire District Council delivered an enforcement notice on August 11th, 2022, demanding that Clarkson make several changes to his property.
Why did Jeremy Clarkson Want To Start A Restaurant?
Jeremy Clarkson, the famous British television presenter and former Top Gear host, has long been known for his passion for cars. However, in recent years he has also become a vocal advocate for the benefits of agriculture and the importance of supporting local farmers.
As part of this, he expressed a desire to diversify his farming revenue and build value by opening a restaurant that would showcase local produce and provide a new outlet for farmers to sell their products.
By doing so, Clarkson was hoping to only support the local economy, but also promote sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. If it was successful, it would have improved employment levels around the area as well as helped local farmers who were already struggling.
Clarkson’s inspiration came from Salatin’s book, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, which explores the philosophical and ethical issues surrounding food production and consumption. The book left a profound impact on the presenter, leading him to set up his restaurant and promote sustainable and ethical farming practices while also helping other local businesses.
The Restaurant In Clarkson’s Farm Season 2
In Season 2 of Clarkson’s Farm, Jeremy and his second-in-command Kaleb Cooper embarked on a new year of farming while also facing off against a hostile local council. Despite encountering numerous obstacles from the council, which thwarted most of their attempts to diversify their income, Jeremy and Kaleb were able to establish a small restaurant venture by the end of the season. Unfortunately, this didn’t last as it was issued an enforcement notice last year.
The enforcement notice stated that Clarkson would have to stop the sale of food and drinks to the public through his cafe and restaurant, as well as remove any portable toilets, tables, and landscaping materials that could potentially be used by diners.
Where Was The Diddly Squat Farm Restaurant?
Diddly Squat Farm is located in the Cotswolds, a region in South-Central England known for its scenic beauty and traditional architecture. As for the location of the restaurant that Clarkson was forced to close, it wasn’t clear. It was somewhere on his 1,000-acre farmland, but it could be anywhere on this.
Getting to the restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm is an adventure in itself. The only way to get there is by catching a ride in the iconic Lamborghini tractor with Kaleb Cooper, the farm manager and breakout star of the show.
Before hopping on board, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, the bathrooms are portable loos located 250 meters away from the restaurant. While not the most luxurious option, they do the job just fine. Secondly, due to licensing restrictions, the restaurant is unable to serve alcohol. However, fear not, as you are welcome to bring your own booze to enjoy with your meal. Alternatively, you can pick up some drinks from the farm shop, which stocks a selection of Hawstone lager and cider, as well as some fantastic English sparkling wine.
A trip to Diddly Squat Farm and its restaurant is a unique and unforgettable experience, made even better by the charismatic Kaleb Cooper.
What’s served at Jeremy Clarkson’s Farm Restaurant?
At the heart of the Diddly Squat Farm restaurant is a commitment to using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. The menu is built around seasonal produce, showcasing the flavours of the Cotswolds and providing diners with a true taste of the region.
The kitchen is helmed by Pip Lacey, Great British Menu winner and executive chef at King’s Cross restaurant Hiccedishes. From succulent meats to vibrant vegetables, the menu offers an array of options to please any palate.
The restaurant is clearly a meat-lover’s paradise with no vegetarian options available the majority of the time. Guests are treated to an array of shared starters, a sumptuous roast-style main course, and a dessert, each using primarily locally sourced farm produce.
- Beef croquettes with pickled chilli:
- Grilled courgettes with bone marrow
- Small beef pasties with raspberry and steak tartare
- Beef ragu and agnolotti pasta sharers
- Beef sausages, roast potatoes, and heritage tomatoes
- Strawberries and cream with ‘Bee Juice’ (honey) on top.
Why Did The Council Shut Down Jeremy Clarkson’s Restaurant?
The council claimed that the restaurant was considered an “unlawful” use of the land and added that its “nature, scale, and siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its countryside location within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
The closure of the restaurant was met with mixed reactions from fans and locals alike. Some expressed disappointment, while others felt that the council’s decision was just.
Dan Duffy, the owner of a renewable energy company, expressed his thoughts on the matter by saying, “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.”
In addition to closing down the restaurant, the council has also banned the sale of any products outside of a 16-mile radius of the site, or products that the council simply doesn’t like. The development of the restaurant is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where such things are not permitted, despite the government’s efforts to encourage farmers to diversify their revenue streams.
Local Conservative councilor Dean Temple spoke with Clarkson about the matter, saying:
“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.”
Temple continued, “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 had opened the now infamous “not-a-restaurant” to try and bypass the restrictions put in place by the council. He invited a number of people to eat there while it was also being filmed for the next series of Clarkson’s Farm. However, one objector who was invited to eat at the restaurant said:
“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 program and the restaurant itself lasted barely a week. It was simply for the benefit of the cameras. He is just constantly pushing the rules.”
A Message From The Local Council
A spokesperson for the council commented:
“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 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.”
In February, the council followed up with a second comment:
“We understand the planning process shown in season two of Clarkson’s Farm can seem obstructive and people will be confused by the planning decisions at Diddly Squat Farm. As with any other planning authority, we have a legal responsibility to make sure that planning laws and policies are followed correctly by everyone to manage development and protect local communities and the environment.
“This is regardless of who they are and we treat Diddly Squat Farm no differently. Behind the scenes we have worked with the owners and planning agents of Diddly Squat Farm over the past two years to try to reach a positive outcome where the business can operate within the planning laws and policies.
“Diddly Squat Farm operated for a large part of 2021 and 2022 outside the planning permissions granted – as seen in Clarkson’s Farm. The council gave advice to try to solve the issues in a constructive way but unfortunately, this advice was not followed.
“We were left with no alternative but to enforce the breaches in planning law in the same way we believe residents would want us to deal with any unlawful development. We only ever take such action as a last resort.”
Has Jeremy Clarkson Managed To Reopen The Restaurant?
Unfortunately, the restaurant has been permanently closed, but a food van is now on the site selling food made from the produce of local farmers as well as beer from Hawkstone. Jeremy, or whoever is posting to the Diddly Squat Farm Instagram page (Lisa Hogan?) has been publishing photos of some really good-looking food online, so we’re hoping we can get down there and enjoy some of their amazing burgers and pizzas.
Fans will obviously have plenty to say about this. But fortunately for them, Jeremy Clarkson has already confirmed that Season 3 is already being made, so hopefully he can find a way around this annoying block from the council.