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NOT top gear! Visitors to Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop can get ‘better quality and value’ from rival stores, says council in on-going spat

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Jeremy Clarkson‘s fans are only visiting his farm shop because of his fame and could get better quality products and value somewhere else, his local council has said.

In an ongoing row with West Oxfordshire district council, Clarkson, 62, has launched an appeal against its rejection of his planning application to install 70 car parking spaces at the Diddly Squat shop as well as a café.

Clarkson has argued that the car parking spaces are necessary in order to avoid customers parking on the main road. 

This month Clarkson revealed that the council has also blocked him from selling copies of Diddly Squat: A Year on the Farm – a book based on his experiences running the 1,000-acre Cotswold farm – despite writing it at his kitchen table. 

Jeremy Clarkson's fans are only visiting Diddly Squat Farm Shop because of his fame and could get higher quality products somewhere else, his local council has claimed

Jeremy Clarkson’s fans are only visiting Diddly Squat Farm Shop because of his fame and could get higher quality products somewhere else, his local council has claimed

Clarkson, 62, has launched an appeal against its rejection of his planning application to install 70 car parking spaces at the Diddly Squat shop as well as a café

Clarkson, 62, has launched an appeal against its rejection of his planning application to install 70 car parking spaces at the Diddly Squat shop as well as a café 

Pictured: Book cover for Diddly Squat: A Year on the Farm

Pictured: Book cover for Diddly Squat: A Year on the Farm

At the appeal hearing the Top Gear presenter said: ‘We really do need on-site parking and lavatories,’ according to The Times.  

He said: ‘I cannot understand why (the council) doesn’t want me to sell my farming books in the shop.

‘They claim they weren’t made locally but I wrote them at my kitchen table, and you literally can’t get more local than that.

‘It would be helpful if we could sell a few tee shirts too.’

The council has argued that Clarkson breached planning conditions after he changed the use of the land from a shop shop to a ‘tourist attraction’ with parking for ‘up to perhaps 200 vehicles’.

It said the shear amount of visitors to the shop ‘exceeds what would arise from a bona fide farm shop’, harming the natural beauty of the area. 

In a statement it said: ‘It is the venue itself that draws [customers], not the shop or the cafe and probably not even the view. They have passed farm shops with a wider variety of better quality, better value items.’ 

West Oxfordshire district council has been contacted by MailOnline for comment. 

Diddly Squat Farm Shop was opened back in 2020. He had bought the farm in 2008 but it was run by a local until he retired in 2019, at which point Clarkson took over.

The farm is the focus of his hit TV show, Clarkson’s Farm.

The Amazon Prime series recorded its best year yet in 2022 ahead of the season two premiere.

During the programme Jeremy works on his 1,000 acre plot of land, located between Chipping Norton and Chadlington in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside in Oxfordshire.

Clarkson bought the farm in 2008 but it was run by a local until he retired in 2019, at which point the 62-year-old ex-Top Gear star chose to take over

Clarkson bought the farm in 2008 but it was run by a local until he retired in 2019, at which point the 62-year-old ex-Top Gear star chose to take over

After just three years of trading, the TV personality’s farm has already amassed £1.34 million in assets and 17 employees, while in 2021 the business had just £44,000 in assets and six employees.

Clarkson’s girlfriend Lisa Bentick, with whom he runs the farm, said in a statement that the shop has helped many local producers to survive economic hardship.

She said: ‘Throughout the incredibly difficult times, when there as a constant barrage of detrimental correspondence from the council, it was only knowing how we were helping others that kept me from spiralling down into a pit of despair.’

In a previous letter to officials, Clarkson wrote: ‘I’m proud of what we have done here and I’m extremely proud of Lisa for what she’s achieved at the shop, in sometimes very trying bureaucratic circumstances.’

Clarkson has faced recent backlash amid the ongoing row over his controversial Meghan Markle column.

The presenter wrote that he had dreamed of the 41-year-old duchess parading through British towns being publicly shamed in his column in The Sun newspaper.

He had written: ‘I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.

‘At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, “Shame!” and throw lumps of excrement at her.

‘Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way.’

In a recent poll created by MailOnline, of more than 3,000 people, some 78 per cent backed the former Top Gear host to keep presenting the quiz show, while just 19 per cent thought he should be sacked. 

Three per cent said they were unsure. 

Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) is battling to save his career amid the ongoing fallout from his controversial Meghan Markle column

Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) is battling to save his career amid the ongoing fallout from his controversial Meghan Markle column

Poll

Do YOU think Jeremy Clarkson should be sacked from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Vote here…

  • Yes 3648 votes
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Now share your opinion

He has said he is being ‘cancelled in front of our eyes’ after it was reported that Amazon Prime is set to stop producing the presenter’s shows – Clarkson’s Farm and The Grand Tour – next year, the latter of which earns him at least £10million annually. 

Nearly 10,000 fans also signed a petition urging ITV not to sack him as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? after Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, recently cast doubt on Clarkson’s future on the network when she told MP John Nicolson his views were ‘in no way endorsed by ITV.’

The creators of the petition, which is addressed to Dame Carolyn, claim Clarkson’s punishment is ‘already completely disproportionate to the crime, adding being sacked by ITV would ‘compound his humiliation.’

Jeremy Clarkson on ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Jeremy Clarkson on ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Clarkson’s comments on Meghan sparked a fierce backlash, with Harry accusing Clarkson of inciting hatred towards women, and both Clarkson and the newspaper apologised last month.

He also repeated his apology in a lengthy statement on his Instagram account in which he discussed the correspondence.

He said had not read his column ‘to someone else’ before giving it to The Sun to publish, something he ‘usually’ did. He said he emailed the couple on Christmas Day to say his language in the column had been ‘disgraceful’ and he was ‘profoundly sorry’.

He said: ‘One of the strange things I’ve noticed in recent times is that whenever an MP or a well-known person is asked to apologise for something, no matter how heartfelt or profound that apology may be, it’s never enough for the people who called for it in the first place.

‘So I’m going to try and buck the trend this morning with an apology for the things I said in a Sun column recently about Meghan Markle. I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.’

Harry accused Clarkson of inciting hatred towards women after he made comments about Meghan

Harry accused Clarkson of inciting hatred towards women after he made comments about Meghan

Clarkson’s column was published last year and attracted criticism from high-profile figures including his own daughter, influencer Emily Clarkson.

It quickly became the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s most complained-about article ever.

In its apology, The Sun said: ‘Jeremy Clarkson wrote a comment article about the Duchess of Sussex. It provoked a strong response and led to a large number of complaints to Ipso, the independent press regulator.

‘In a tweet earlier this week (December 19 2022), Jeremy said he had made a “clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones”, which had “gone down badly with a great many people” and he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt”. He also said he will be more careful in future.

‘Columnists’ opinions are their own, but as a publisher we realise that with free expression comes responsibility. We at The Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry.’

The newspaper added that the article had also been removed from their archives as well as their website.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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