Jeremy Clarkson abandons plans for a restaurant at his Diddly Squat farm

Alex South

Alex South


Broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson has dropped his bid for a restaurant on his Diddly Squat farm following a planning row with Oxfordshire District Council.

In a letter to his local council, Jeremy stated that he "no longer wished" to open the dining venue at his Oxfordshire farm after he was ordered to shut the restaurant in August this year by West Oxfordshire District Council.

The authority rejected planning permission for the restaurant, based in and around one of the farm's barns, in January last year.

In response to the decision, Clarkson proceeded to open the restaurant in July, saying that he had found a "delightful little loophole" that allowed him to open the venue.

Despite this the authority issued an enforcement notice, saying the opening of the restaurant represented a "material change of use" forcing Clarkson to shut the restaurant, or anything selling food to be consumed on the farm, and also ordered to remove dining tables, chairs, parasols and picnic tables.

In a letter to the council, published by Sky News, Jeremy explained the idea behind the plans, he said: “On the farming front, I had read about something called mob grazing. This is a highly ecological way of rejuvenating the soil, using the muck from hens and cows, rather than chemical fertilisers.”

He added: "The problem was that if I sold the cows in the conventional way, I'd lose about £200 on each one. So I decided that to make a profit, the beef should be cooked and served in a restaurant, which I'd create by converting our lambing barn. Permission for this was refused. And our attempts to get round the problem by using permitted development rights and opening up in our so-called Lowland Barn were thwarted by the enforcement notice we are appealing.”

Jeremy concluded: "As a result of this, I've had to sell most of the cows I bought. And now I'm back to using chemicals. I no longer wish to open a restaurant. I don't want to turn Diddly Squat into Disneyland.”

The letter was written to the council as part of an appeal by Clarkson against the authority's decision to reject his planning application.

Though he is no longer pursuing plans for a restaurant, he is continuing to seek planning permission for part of his application, which would allow the development of on-site parking.

The former Top Gear star bought the farm in Chadlington in 2008, but it was previously run by a villager. However, in 2019 he decided to give it a go himself.

The site has become well known since the launch of the Clarkson's Farm TV series in June 2021.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 9th January 2023

Jeremy Clarkson abandons plans for a restaurant at his Diddly Squat farm