Londoners not leading Jeremy Clarkson backlash, there's too few, says villager
Jeremy Clarkson has reignited a row with his neighbours after he blamed Londoners who name their houses for leading the backlash against his Diddly Squat Farm and shop.
Ahead of the launch of the show’s second series on February 10, Mr Clarkson, 62, revealed that a number of locals are still less than impressed with his foray into farming, saying: “In a way, the village is divided.
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“As far as the farm is concerned, it’s split pretty neatly between those who have a house number – you know, 22 Oak Avenue or 3 Grove or whatever – who tend to support us, because we bring business to the area and jobs for their kids. Some of them are more than happy to go have a nice pint with a lovely view just up the road. So that works.
“If they’ve got a house name, they tend not to like us, because they tend to have moved here from London quite recently, and they don’t want crowds of people coming to the farm shop, so that seems to me to be the split. That’s about as tightly as I can put it.”
Robert Alven said: "As a well known journalist Mr Clarkson is in a prime position to promote his own agenda however ludicrously he wishes.
"Mr Clarkson’s assertion that lots of London incomers to Chadlington are responsible for his self-described unpopularity are at odds with the fact that they are very few indeed such people in the village.
"And indeed he himself lives in a house without a number!
Mr Clarkson bought the farm in 2008, but only took over the running of it himself in 2019.
Friction erupted after he expanded into a shop and then a restaurant.
Mr Alven added: "Mr Clarkson has owned Diddly Squat Farm for many years co-existing with the village without controversy until the excessive disruption at the farm shop commenced two years ago.
"The farm shop may be a mile away but the impact of up to 1,000 visitors a day is prolific.
"Visiting and passing traffic and severely impaired accessibility to and from the local town are a great disturbance and are not inconsequential to the tranquility of the village or the AONB."
Mr Clarkson is currently appealing against the closure of the dining areas at the farm after it was ordered to shut by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Mr Alven said: "Mr Clarkson refers to the lovely view from the Farm Shop and has indeed referred to it elsewhere as The Big View.
"May I refer you to his other opinion view in support of his current appeals to the Planning Inspectorate."
He quoted from Mr Clarkson's representations: "'And let’s not forget the shop is located right next to a caravan site and a short distance from a sizeable travellers’ camp. There are some beautiful spots in the Cotswolds but our shop most definitely isn’t in one of them.'"
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Mr Alven countered: "Both of the caravan site and the travellers camp are completely out of sight whereas the Diddly Squat Farm Shop in the AONB is exposed to the expanse of the Evenlode Valley for miles."
In publicity interviews for Clarkson's Farm Season 2, Mr Clarkson also referred to a public meeting he held with the locals, during which his lack of farming credentials and celebrity status were scrutinised.
“I can assure you, the people who spoke early on, I have emphatically not won them over. I lost them years ago,” he admitted.
However, Mr Clarkson said there were “plenty” of other locals who appeared to be more receptive, and even encouraging of his work.
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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.
Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris
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