Scores of 4x4s tear up path at Diddly Squat Farm as Jeremy Clarkson calls for 'compromise' in car park row

17 March 2023, 14:33 | Updated: 17 March 2023, 15:20

West Oxfordshire District Council has opposed Jeremy Clarkson's plans for a car park at his Diddly Squat farm
West Oxfordshire District Council has opposed Jeremy Clarkson's plans for a car park at his Diddly Squat farm. Picture: PA
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Scores of visitors tore up grass verges as they descended upon Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat farm shop on Friday as a row over building a new car park intensifies.

Long queues built outside the famous farm shop on Friday, with Clarkson arguing that the farm does not have the infrastructure to accommodate a large number of visitors.

Cars were forced park on the roadside outside the farm shop, surrounded by torn-up grass, puddles and mud.

Clarkson has submitted plans for a new car park to accommodate 70 more vehicles, but West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) rejected plans last May.

Read More: 'Pen-pushing' council bureaucrats hit back at Jeremy Clarkson for 'misleading' TV show

Grass verges have been torn up by visitors to Diddly Squat farm
Grass verges have been torn up by visitors to Diddly Squat farm. Picture: PA
Diddly Squat Farm Shop
Diddly Squat Farm Shop. Picture: PA

An appeal was considered in a two-day Planning Inspectorate meeting with West Oxfordshire District Council this week, with Clarkson seemingly confident a "compromise" will be reached.

Addressing his desire for an upgrade to the farm, Clarkson said this week: "It’s not just the car park. It’s the loos. And the seating. And the mobile food van that turns our cows into burgers."

Read More: Two opponents to Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm expansion received death threats, local council reveals

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

But Clarkson said coverage of his appeal "makes it sound like a civil war is raging" and that he is confident a compromise will be reached.

WODC opposes Clarkson's proposals on the basis that they would encourage more visitors to the area, increasing traffic problems in the Chadlington and Chipping Norton areas.

Accommodating more vehicles would also disrupt the tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the council claims.

Jeremy Clarkson opened the farm shop in 2020
Jeremy Clarkson opened the farm shop in 2020. Picture: Getty

There's a divide among locals, with some claiming Clarkson's farm is the area's "crown jewel", while others have taken the side of the council.

It comes after the council revealed two opponents to Clarkson's proposed farm expansion have been subjected to death threats.

WODC said an unnamed councillor and member of the public have been subjected to "malicious communications" after speaking out against Clarkson's expansion plans.

The death threats were made in the wake of Season Two of Clarkson's Farm airing on February 10, the council said.

The district council confirmed it put extra security measures in place for this week's hearing following the death threats.

"Unfortunately we have had to take safety precautions following a number of threats and abuse directed at councillors and local people since the airing of Season 2 of Clarkson’s Farm," a council statement read.

"This has included death threats and as a result we have had to consider a range of safety measures to protect councillors, staff and residents.

"We understand people may not agree with decisions taken by the council but there is no place for threatening or abusive behaviour.

"It damages the democratic process when people feel intimidated and do not feel safe to express the opinions they are entitled to."

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