Teen workers at Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop forced to wear body cams amid tirade of abuse from locals

15 March 2023, 20:06

Teen workers at Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop forced to wear body cams amid tirade of abuse from locals
Teen workers at Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop forced to wear body cams amid tirade of abuse from locals. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Teenage workers at Jeremy Clarkson's farm have been forced to wear body cams after receiving a tirade of "abuse" from locals opposing an expansion to the television presenter's carpark.

A council planning hearing heard from one worker how employees as young as 16 working at the Diddly Squat Farm Shop wore the cameras as a precaution following hostility from villagers.

It comes as part of a two-day meeting in which West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) opposed Clarkson's proposed carpark extension on the grounds that it would encourage more visitors.

Locals have been in conflict with the presenter over extensive tailbacks caused by visitors since the farm shop opened in 2020.

The news came as part of a two-day Planning Inspectorate meeting involving Clarkson and West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) over plans to extend the farm's carpark.
The news came as part of a two-day Planning Inspectorate meeting involving Clarkson and West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) over plans to extend the farm's carpark. Picture: LBC / Alamy

The farm - which sits between Chadlington and Chipping Norton - rose to prominence as part of the Prime Video series Clarkson's Farm, with the Oxfordshire shop now standing at the centre of the long-running dispute.

WODC added that allowing more vehicles to park at the site would further disturb the tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However, not all locals oppose the expansion, with Annabel Gray, 32, who works in a catering trailer at Clarkson's farm, adding accusations of disruption were "unfair".

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Ms Gray, who is a farmer's daughter herself, added that she had "witnessed local people" adding to the traffic issues by driving slowly too, noting tourists weren't solely to blame.

Her comments come in response to a complaint made by resident Hilary Moore who labelled the farm a hotspot for "motorheads" who drive slowly in a bid to "show off their cars".

She told the hearing: 'Diddly Squat has an important opportunity to educate people about local farming and I find it really frustrating that the council is overlooking that.

Framing the carpark expansion as an opportunity for the council rather than a negative, speakers at the meeting heard opposing views from West Oxfordshire District Council.
Framing the carpark expansion as an opportunity for the council rather than a negative, speakers at the meeting heard opposing views from West Oxfordshire District Council. Picture: LBC / Alamy

"There are few places about where you can experience where we get food from.

"Jeremy's following do not have that great a knowledge about farming - I have had to explain to people that beef burgers come from a cow - and they travel long distances with the hope they might see him, but also to experience farming they have seen on TV."

Framing it as an opportunity for the council rather than a negative, her comments coincide with those of Diddly Squat supplier Henry Lawrence.

Lawrence 33, who is also a local butcher, said the shop had the potential to be "the crown jewel" of sustainable farming.

However, Chadlington Parish Council chairman, Andrew Hutchings, 56, emphasised the village held "a range of opinions" on the matter of expansion.

The meeting previously heard how visitors prolonged trips to the farm in order to "take selfies" and meet the presenter/

WODC has previously shut down a restaurant opened by Clarkson due to an allegedly lack of planning permission, a move that saw the presenter abandon the project.

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