Jeremy Clarkson built his Diddly Squat farm restaurant where meals cost up to £69-a-head in a BARN using ‘cunning loophole’ to avoid planning rules
- Ex-Top Gear star, 62, had long seen plans for Chadlington restaurant hampered
- Clarkson surprised fans last month when he finally opened despite West Oxon District Council initially blocking his plans to open his £69-a-head eatery
- He initially told reporters how he had uncovered a ‘cunning little loophole’
- But the council refuse to back down and have launched their own investigation
Jeremy Clarkson‘s £69-a-head restaurant was finally opened after months of wrangling thanks to a ‘delightful little loophole’ that allowed him to circumvent traditional planning laws.
The Clarkson’s Farm star’s planned ‘Diddly Squat’ eatery in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, had long been hampered by furious residents and the local planning authority.
But the former Top Gear presenter surprised fans last month when he announced he had found a ‘delightful little loophole’ that would allow him to open for business.
Mr Clarkson had initially told reporters last month: ‘We found a cunning little loophole – it’s a weight off my shoulders and appeals to my anti-establishment bent’.
But West Oxfordshire District Council say they are investigating the restaurant after councillors rejected its initial planning application in January.
One council source, who refused to comment on the local authority’s ongoing investigation, told MailOnline: ‘The council’s view is that the same planning rules should apply to everybody.
‘We will treat Jeremy Clarkson in the exact same way as any other resident of West Oxfordshire.’
Jeremy Clarkson’s £69-a-head restaurant was finally opened after months of wrangling thanks to a ‘delightful little loophole’ that allowed him to circumvent traditional planning laws
The Clarkson’s Farm star’s ‘Diddly Squat’ eatery in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, (pictured above) has long been hampered by furious residents and the local planning authority
It is believed that Mr Clarkson may have pursued changes to his barn using a Class R permitted development clause – which allows the use of farm structures to be tweaked from their original purpose without council-approved planning permission.
Class R permits the change of any agricultural building into a commercial retail unit, restaurant or café provided the conversion does not exceed 500sqm.
Mr Clarkson explained the process to reporters in July: ‘You can write to your council and inform them that you are changing a barn’s use. It’s called permitted development… We happen to have a barn which met every single one of the criteria.’
The Top Gear star had angrily clashed with West Oxfordshire District Council officials who initially rejected his bid for a new restaurant at a planning meeting in January.
Before leaving the council building he said one planning officer, who recommended councillors refuse the application, looked like the late comedian Eric Morecambe.
Seven out of 10 councillors on WODC’s uplands area planning sub-committee eventually voted against the initial restaurant plans.
Jeremy Clarkson claimed later he found a ‘delightful little loophole’ to open it up for service
Despite this ongoing row, Mr Clarkson opened his ‘Diddly Squat’ restaurant last month, offering a three-course meal for up to £69 per person where diners will be filmed for the second series of his Clarkson’s Farm tv show.
A West Oxon District Council spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The council was made aware of the restaurant opening at Diddly Squat Farm.
‘As part of our standard operating procedure, we have been looking into the operation to ensure it is compliant with local and national planning law and policies, as well as licensing and food hygiene regulations.
‘We cannot comment on any ongoing investigations.’
Despite an ongoing row, Mr Clarkson opened his ‘Diddly Squat’ restaurant last month, offering a three-course meal for up to £69 per person where diners will be filmed for the second series of his Clarkson’s Farm tv show
Clarkson’s Restaurant is available for booking at his Diddly Squat Farmshop in Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
Items on the menu are all locally sourced, featuring snacks like sticky beef croquettes with aioli and pickled chilli, and mains such as roasted topside of beef with vegetables.
On the online restaurant booking service, information for Diddly Squat reads: ‘Before making your booking, you should know it’s small, mostly outdoors and very rustic.
‘Ordering a beer or going to the lavatory isn’t as easy as in your local pub and we don’t cater to the faddy.
‘We’ve done our best to keep you warm and dry, but this is England.
‘On the upside, the view is enormous and almost everything you eat was grown or reared on our farm, so it’s fresh with minimal food miles.
‘There is no menu as such – we simply serve what’s available that day.
‘But worry not, your table will be given a selection of snacks and starters followed by a roast and a pudding.
‘Our bread, made with Hawkstone lager is absolutely brilliant.
‘We even have a tiny VIP room housed in an old shepherd’s hut. This seats four (just) but it is dry and warmer than outside.’
The popularity of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime has led to queues for the Diddly Squat Farm Shop to check out his stock, which includes honey, chutney and even T-shirts
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 – created chaos for villagers who are more accustomed to cows than congestion.
The former Top Gear co-host, 62, and his farm shop have also angered locals complaining about visitors clogging up the country roads.