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Jeremy Clarkson suffers blow over plans to expand Diddly Squat farm shop as councilors turn down offer

Jeremy Clarkson has faced a blow to his Diddly Squat Farm Shop expansion plans after councilors refused his request for watered down planning.

The former Top Gear presenter, 62, was looking to sevenfold his store’s parking lot from ten to 70 spaces, but local councilors said the proposed plans would have a ‘visually intrusive and detrimental impact’ on the campaign, refusing Clarkson’s candidacy.

Clarkson, who films at his own farm shop for Amazon Prime Video’s Clarkson’s Farm, had faced around 30 comments of objection from villagers, with some citing concerns about traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford .

Yet an equal number expressed support for the bid, which was refused on Friday May 6 by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Explaining the decision, council development manager Abby Fettes said: ‘Due to its location, size and design, the proposed development would not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in terms of scale with the existing farm business or its location in the countryside. .

‘[It] would have an intrusive and detrimental visual impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Wychwood Project area.

It’s the second time Clarkson, who also stars with former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond and James May in The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, has had a planning application for his farm shop rejected this year.

Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) has suffered a major blow for his plans to expand the Oxfordshire Diddly Squat Farm Shop after councilors refused his watered down planning request on Friday

In January councilors refused him permission to convert his lambing shed into a proposed 60-space cafe and 70-space car park.

Some locals hailed the plans as a welcome measure to prevent visitors from parking on nearby roads and accused opponents of being motivated by “jealousy”.

But others have slammed the former Top Gear presenter for trying to create ‘a major tourist attraction’ in a peaceful rural area, calling his shop ‘an eyesore’.

Clarkson reapplied on March 2 to build the parking lot and introduce new entry and exit points for his farm shop.

It was argued in planning documents that there was insufficient parking space to cope with the number of visitors.

Local residents have complained of ‘traffic chaos’ since Clarkson’s hit TV show Clarkson’s Farm aired last June.

Clarkson, who films at his own farm shop for Amazon Prime Video's Clarkson's Farm, had faced around 30 comments of objection from villagers, with some citing concerns about traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford .

Clarkson, who films at his own farm shop for Amazon Prime Video’s Clarkson’s Farm, had faced around 30 comments of objection from villagers, with some citing concerns about traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford .

The presenter’s new projects consist of trying to reduce traffic jams and visitor parking on the road by creating a new car park delimited by straw bales where around 60 cars can park with four additional spaces for the disabled and a bicycle park. .

Plans include a tarmac entrance and separate exit, a fenced paddock separated from the road by a new hedge and wildflower margins to “create a soft buffer zone between the crops and the farm store”.

It also proposes the construction of 1.8 m high willow hedges and hedges of native species such as Acer Campestre, Malus Sylvestris and Quercus Robur to protect the car park.

But planning documents reveal that many local residents fear the site is overdeveloped.

The parish council opposed the request, saying it would “remove some, but not all, vehicles from the road given the number of visitors encountered, and would not reduce the current number of vehicle movements in the area, which is a security issue.

Thames Valley Police crime prevention design adviser Kevin Cox said the applicant was to provide details of what would be done to control peak hour parking to stop ‘safety issues and the disruptions and subsequent demand for police resources as seen previously’.

However, supporters said parking facilities for the farm shop were much needed and would ease pressure on surrounding roads while boosting the local economy.

The plans, which were rejected, showed a new entry and exit system, with proposed hedges to be planted and the number of parking spaces increased

The plans, which were rejected, showed a new entry and exit system, with proposed hedges to be planted and the number of parking spaces increased

A 10-space car park was approved for the store last year, but it quickly overflowed after the farm's popularity skyrocketed following the release of the Amazon Prime Video series Clarkson's Farm

A 10-space car park was approved for the store last year, but it quickly overflowed after the farm’s popularity skyrocketed following the release of the Amazon Prime Video series Clarkson’s Farm

One resident seemed resigned to the continued development of the site and said people may have “reluctantly concluded that the best option was to back this app given everyone’s concerns to avoid a serious crash”.

Nigel Winser of Chadlington wrote in his letter of objection: ‘If the Farm Shop were loyal to selling local farm produce, the small car park is appropriate.

“Alas, the shop is already selling souvenirs, which attract a large number of shoppers from all over the UK.

“This trend will continue to grow year after year, with an increasing number of domestic and international buyers. Good for tourism, but not for sustainable agriculture in a beautiful area of ​​national importance, for nature.

‘Permission for this car park, will be the thin end of the corner, known as the “planning creep”.

“Visitor numbers will increase, a large restaurant will be created, intense lighting will need to be added and before long it will become a major tourist attraction in the UK, bringing increased road safety and environmental hazards to the whole valley. “

A 10-space car park was approved for the store last year, but it quickly overflowed after the farm’s popularity skyrocketed following the release of Clarkson’s Farm.

Chadlington resident Michael Cooper claimed in his comments that the plans showed “no respect or consideration” for neighbors or the fact that the site was in an Area of ​​Outstanding Beauty.

He added: “The scheduled entry and exit will not necessarily improve road safety and traffic flow. With an extra “pinch point” and such close proximity, there is a risk of additional problems and accidents. »

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