Farm owner ordered to close down his farm caf and restaurant

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Farm owner ordered to close down his farm caf and restaurant

Jeremy Clarkson has been ordered to shut down his farm's caf and restaurant after he ignored warnings from council officers that he was in breach of planning regulations.

Clarkson, 62, has appealed against an enforcement notice issued by West Oxfordshire district council in August, which gave him six weeks to comply with their demands.

The Amazon Prime show, the star of Clarkson's Farm, opened a 40 seat restaurant in an old lambing barn in July, months after local councillors rejected his plans for a bistro in a newer barn because it would spoil the protected rural landscape.

Clarkson said at the opening that he had found a cunning little loophole which allowed him to change the barn's use without planning permission.

At the time, the council said it was looking to make sure the venue was compliant with local and national planning law. In August it ordered Diddly Squat Farm, in Chadlington, to undertake a catalogue of measures within six weeks of it serving the notice on August 12.

They also stopped the use of any part of the land as a restaurant or caf, removing all tables and chairs, catering vans and mobile toilets on site, as well as all landscaping materials. The council said the farm must stop selling products other than those made within a 16 mile radius of it, or others that the council has allowed.

It said that council officers worked with the owners 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 had a significant impact on the local community. The council's planning agents denied the farm breached planning laws and said that the proposed six-week period would be too short and would have a serious and detrimental impact on the business and livelihoods of those employed at the site, and that six months would be a more reasonable timeframe. The Planning Inspectorate has accepted Clarkson's appeal as valid and that representations must be made in the coming weeks.

Since opening his farm shop in 2020, Clarkson has received a barrage of complaints from the nearby village of Chadlington, Oxfordshire, about horrendous traffic, damage to grass verges and speeding cars drawn to the area by the show's international success.

What started with Clarkson gaining planning permission for a small farm shop selling local produce, a lambing shed and ten car parking spaces in November 2019 has resulted in hundreds of cars parking in a field, a caf serving hot food and alcohol and thousands of fans queuing for hours to buy branded T-shirts, caps and bags.

Clarkson doesn't have planning permission for most of these new additions but fans drive to the area from as far away as Newcastle and Glasgow for the day.

His application for planning permission to build a new 70 space car park was rejected by the council earlier this year.

Clarkson argues that he needs to sell his own beef and produce through his own restaurant in order to survive the drop in government agricultural subsidies.