Jeremy Clarkson wins planning appeal for car park — but can't have a restaurant

The Diddly Squat Farm Shop, Chadlington, Oxfordshire, England
Jeremy Clarkson has been told he can extend the car park at his farm, but his restaurant plans have been rejected (Image credit: Getty)

Jeremy Clarkson’s appeal to extend his farm in order to increase the parking area to his farm has been successful, however, his restaurant on the site has been refused.

The site in Chadlington Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, which is 400 hectares, was aiming to gain planning permission for an extended car park and restaurant.

West Oxfordshire District Council initially rejected the proposals earlier this year, but after an appeal, the car park has been temporarily allowed to extend, but the restaurant failed to gain planning permission as it was deemed too “harmful” to the area.

What were Jeremy Clarkson’s plans?

Clarkson initially opened an application to open a restaurant and extend the car park at his farm in Chadlington in Oxfordshire. But his plans were thwarted when these were rejected. He subsequently opened the restaurant in an agricultural barn using a "delightful little loophole" but this met with enforcement action from the council, eventually leading to Clarkson giving up the fight and simply appealing the planning application. 

Clarkson hoped to alter the site, which is part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), by making a temporary change of use of part of an agricultural field measuring 60 metres by 32 metres to provide car parking for adjacent farm shop until January 1 2025.

The farm includes a shop built from stone, a ‘lambing shed’, a café and a restaurant.

The farm and shop are central to an ongoing television series ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ hosted by Amazon Prime, which is in its second season, and has generated a large number of visitors to the site. You can read more on Jeremy Clarkson's planning battle with the council and what we think the loophole he used was in our piece.

The Diddly Squat Farm Shop with a number of visitors

The farm shop has garnered a large amount of interest with, partly inspired by the show 'Clarkson's Farm' on Amazon Prime (Image credit: Getty)

Original refusal due to 'impact on local community'

West Oxfordshire District Council initially rejected the plans due to concerns the impact it would have on the local community.

The council ruled that: “The business continues to operate outside the planning permissions granted and advice has been ignored. The activity has also had a significant impact on the local community.”

The council also justified closing the restaurant that was opened under the "delightful little loophole" by stating its "nature, scale [and] siting is unsustainable and incompatible with its countryside location within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."

The council were also concerned that the car park is unlikely to stay temporary if granted permission so the plans were refused planning permission.

Chadlington Parish Council also claimed that the proposed car park would not completely solve the issue of cars obstructing the highway due to it still not being big enough to cope with the number of visitors.

They claimed that: “if the application is granted it will not be sufficient to cope with the large numbers of cars at popular times and therefore needs to be seen as part of developing a comprehensive visitor management plan as befitting what has clearly become a major tourist attraction.”

Jeremy Clarkson stepping down from a tractor at night

Clarkson appealed the council's decision, but did acknowledge the disruption that was being caused by the car park to the local area (Image credit: Getty)

Appeal made due to parking area being insufficient 

The appeal was made under section 174 and section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which gives the right to appeal planning decisions and seeks compensation in respect of loss or damage caused or incurred in consequence of the refusal of any consent.

Clarkson also appealed that the farm needed facilities for customers, such as toilets and sufficient parking due to the farm being a commercial success, which the Council conceded.

Clarkson did recognise that parking had disrupted the road and encroached on neighbouring land, but claimed this was all the more reason to grant an extension for the car park.

The inside of the restaurant of Clarkson's farm shop shows an ice cream stand and people queing

The restaurant plans were rejected so as to “protect the intrinsic character of the area," although the car park and mixed-use plans were approved (Image credit: Getty)

Restaurant 'resulted in harm' to the area 

In a decision issued on June 14, the Planning Inspector granted permission for the car park extension but upheld the rejection for the restaurant.

Planning inspector R J Perrins decided that the parking at the farm was insufficient and ruled: “The appeal is allowed, and planning permission is granted for an extension to existing parking area to formalise temporary parking and provision of new access arrangements.

“The development hereby permitted shall begin not later than 3 years from the date of this decision.”

Perrins also stated: “I will grant planning permission for the change of use of the land to a mixed-use, comprising agriculture, café, farm shop, parking and lavatory facilities, but otherwise I will uphold the notice with a correction and variations and refuse to grant planning permission in respect of the other part of the matters (namely the restaurant use in Lowland Barn).”

The restaurant was ruled to have “resulted in harm” to the local area and was rejected in order to “protect the intrinsic character of the area and landscape; to conserve the natural beauty, scenic beauty and landscape of the AONB.”

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.