TV presenter and former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson’s attempt to build a restaurant on his Diddly Squat farm has been rejected by the local council.
The proposed 50-seat restaurant, which Clarkson referred to as the “diversification of a farming business”, would have included a 70-space car park and been housed in the lambing shed, which had become defunct due to Clarkson’s failed attempt at sheep farming.
The proposal was rejected by West Oxfordshire district council’s uplands area planning subcommittee eight votes to two, with the argument that it would cause “great harm” to the area of outstanding natural beauty.
Clarkson’s response to the rejection has been characteristically obtuse, calling it “a bad day for farming” and saying that he will not only appeal but also “go to the secretary of state”.
The 61-year-old is no stranger to controversy, having been repeatedly disciplined by the BBC for racial slurs and offensive comments, before finally being dropped in 2015. Ever embodying the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad press”, Clarkson bounced back almost immediately and now has two popular shows on Amazon Prime (the other being Top Gear successor The Grand Tour).
Diddly Squat farm has been the setting of Amazon's Clarkson’s Farm, in which Clarkson tries - and usually fails at - pretty much every type of farming under the sun. He and his agricultural associates, including fan-favourite Caleb, struggle against stubborn weather and even more stubborn livestock.
The show itself has been hugely popular with viewers, but less so with locals. The Diddly Squat farm shop has caused traffic jams and an unwelcome stir in the peaceful, picturesque landscape.
Dean Temple, a local councillor, was reluctant to vote against a potential employment opportunity for the area but had to with a “heavy heart” to protect the area’s natural beauty.
For more culinary controversy, read all about Gino D'Acampo's My Pasta Bar chain going into liquidation.