Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to open new 60-seater restaurant at his Diddly Squat Farm are thrown into doubt over fears the land may be too TOXIC to build on
- Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has submitted plans to open a 60-seater café at his farm
- But a response said Diddly Squat Farm was a former quarry and may be ‘toxic’
- It claimed the site has been used as a quarry so it may contain ‘filled ground
- The popularity of Clarkson’s Farm has led to queues for Diddly Squat Farm Shop
Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to open a new 60-seater restaurant at his Diddly Squat Farm have hit a road block over fears that the land may be too toxic to build on.
The former Top Gear host, 61, had submitted a planning application to open a 70-space car park at a 60-seater café at his farm in Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
The popularity of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime has led to queues for the Diddly Squat Farm Shop, with neighbours growing concerned after hundreds of enthusiastic fans started queuing outside his estate.
But Clarkson’s plans to expand his farm have been thrown into doubt as a response to his application, from consultee ERS Pollution, said the land is a former quarry which might be ‘contaminated’.
Jeremy Clarkson (pictured), 61, had submitted a planning application to open a 70-space car park at a 60-seater café at his farm in in Chadlington, Oxfordshire
It claimed that the proposed site has been previously used as a quarry so may contain ‘filled ground’, while an investigation will have to be carried out before building can take place.
The report said: ‘No development shall take place until a desk study and if required a site investigation of the nature and extent of contamination has been carried out in accordance with a methodology which has previously been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.
‘The results of the site investigation shall be made available to the local planning authority before any development begins.’
The report said if ‘significant contamination’ is found in an investigation, a report outlining measures that will need to be taken to render the site ‘suitable for the development’ will have to be submitted to the local planning authority before building can begin.
It added: ‘If, during the course of development, any contamination is found which has not been identified in the site investigation, additional measures for the remediation of this contamination shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.’
The papers also showed that 28 objections to Clarkson’s building plans had already been submitted by local villagers.
But Clarkson’s plans to expand his farm (pictured)have been thrown into doubt as a response to his application said the land is a former quarry which might be ‘contaminated’
In the planning application to West Oxfordshire District Council, Jeremy’s team said Diddly Squat Farm is ‘facing an acute reduction in the Basic Payment Scheme’, a government subsidy, which is currently being phased out.
It said the payments will reduce from £83,298 to £0 over the period 2020 to 2028, meaning the business may begin to struggle financially over time, explaining his desire to expand now.
It read: ‘It is reasonable for a farm business to investigate ways to replace this income with on farm diversification to create new income streams or expand existing enterprises.’
The application stated that the Government subsidy received by Diddly Squat Farm ‘accounted for over 85 per cent of the business’s profit’ this year.
Evidently, Clarkson will have to find new land to build on, or find a new means of creating revenue.
The road-block comes after Clarkson’s farm was granted ‘urgent’ planning permission to build cattle shed in time for his herd to calve in the New Year.
Documents state that the shed will house Beef Shorthorn cattle over the winter and during calving.
They show the request was ‘made with some urgency as the farm’s cattle are due to calve in January/February’.
According to documents, the farm currently owns 12 heifers, 10 of which are due to calve in January 2022.
The documents read: ‘This forms the base of the farm herd which will grow with each calving cycle.
‘The new calves (arriving January) will be reared on the farm with heifers retained to breed.’
The building is a conventional design with a light and airy space for livestock and an open floor to allow for easy cleaning.
The Yorkshire boarding to the sides provides shelter while also allowing ventilation while the open front allows natural light into the space along with free access for animals and machinery.
The site is reached via a made track to Chipping Norton Road which links with the A361.
It claimed that the proposed site has been used as a quarry so may contain ‘filled ground’, while an investigation will have to be carried out before building can take place
A spokesman for West Oxfordshire District Council said the request was a permitted development.
He said: ‘Certain types of development are granted planning permission by national legislation without the need to submit a planning application.
‘One such condition on certain classes of permitted development is the need to submit an application to the Local Planning Authority for its Prior Approval, or to determine if its Prior Approval will be required.
‘This allows the Local Planning Authority to consider the proposals, their likely impacts in regard to certain factors i.e. planning permission is not required, to construct the cattle shed as long as it is constructed to the plans submitted to us.’
Last month, Clarkson came face-to-face with angry villagers at a public meeting to answer concerns about his plans to develop his farm shop.
The controversial presenter called the meeting at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, after hearing rumours of concerns about his exceptionally popular farm shop.
In a bid to quash his neighbours’ fears, Mr Clarkson invited the local community to join him in the village hall to discuss the farm shop and enjoy cheese and wine.
Posters around Chadlington read: ‘As there seems to be some debate in the village about what’s going on at Diddly Squat, Jeremy Clarkson will be at the Memorial Hall to explain his plans and to take any questions you may have.
‘Everybody from the area is welcome to attend. Cheese and wine will be provided.’
Initially posted on the village community Facebook page, one person suggested that the meeting would be packed, joking that Mr Clarkson might need a larger venue like the Royal Albert Hall.
The popularity of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime has led to queues for the Diddly Squat Farm Shop, with neighbours growing concerned with the increase in traffic in the area
Fans from all over the country have been queuing up for two-and-a-half hours to get inside the Diddly Squat shop since the launch of the hit Amazon Prime show Clarkson’s Farm, provoking some complaints from neighbours.
Police were even called out to manage traffic chaos in June, caused by hundreds of Jeremy Clarkson fans descending on his farm in the hope of meeting him and to check out his stock, which includes honey, chutney and T-shirts.
Villagers are divided over the impact of the shop, which opened less than a year ago, with some saying it has put Chadlington on the map and boosted the local economy.
Mr Clarkson has now applied for planning permission to develop the site, despite existing concerns from neighbours about the popularity of the shop.
Chadlington Parish Council said it had no objections but, if approved, the application should not confirm a change of use status for this agricultural building.
It pointed out that in November 2020, an application had been made to convert a lambing shed adjacent to the shop into a café and in February 2021 for a licence to sell alcohol and provide entertainment.
It added: ‘The parish council remains concerned regarding the effect of the incremental development at this location, both upon the local community, its existing shops and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
‘The number of cars currently visiting this site is already substantial, often filling the existing available parking space and overflowing onto the Chipping Norton Road, which is hardly desirable in an AONB and creates a significant risk that accidents will occur.’
Searches for homes to buy in Chadlington jumped by 511 per cent in June 2021, when compared to the same period in 2020, according to property website Rightmove.
The website suggested viewers have been captivated by the local countryside and looked at homes for sale in and around the area where Clarkson’s Farm is filmed.
Papers also showed that 28 objections to Clarkson’s plans had already been submitted by local villagers. Pictured: Fans wait for around four hours to visit Diddly Squat Farm Shop in July
On Clarkson’s Farm, Jeremy works on his 1,000 acre plot of land, located between Chipping Norton and Chadlington in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside in Oxfordshire.
The former petrol-head appears to have settled for a serene farming lifestyle as part of his new hit Amazon Prime series.
But the show’s roaring success – and the opening of Clarkson’s popular Diddly Squat Farm Shop – has created chaos for villagers who are more accustomed to cows than congestion.
Speaking previously about the farm shop’s success, Mr Clarkson said: ‘I mean, if we’d built a nuclear power station I could understand their concerns, but not a tiny farm shop.’
The broadcaster bought the plot of land in 2008 and Clarkson’s Farm follows the presenter’s highs and lows of tackling the 1,000 acre working farm.
The presenter recently revealed he was ‘the happiest he has ever been’ and that he ‘loved every second’ of filming the new hit show.
His Diddly Squat shop is described as a ‘small barn full of good, no-nonsense things’ on its official website.
The Amazon Prime series follows an intense and frequently hilarious year in the life of Britain’s most unlikely farmer and his team, as they contend with the worst farming weather in decades, disobedient animals, unresponsive crops, and an unexpected pandemic.
A second season of Clarkson’s Farm was commissioned by Amazon in July 2021.
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