TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson hampered in his efforts to make improvements to his Diddly Squat farm and jokes about joining the Masons to change his luck, after yet another planning permission setback
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- 23:55, 13 May 2022
Frustrated Jeremy Clarkson joked he should “join the Masons” in order to receive permission to make improvements to his Diddly Squat farm, in Oxfordshire, after laying into the “not terribly bright people” who sit on council planning desks.
The popular broadcaster, who took over the running of his own farm in 2019, said he “simply can’t get planning permission” for alterations he wants to make and reckons local planners are influenced by “people in the village who wear red trousers”.
Jeremy, 62, said when it comes to his property, “no” is the local council’s answer to “everything”.
He told TalkTV’s The News Desk: “Maybe I should buy an apron and join the Masons. I don’t know what you have to do, but I simply can’t get planning permission for anything, which is infuriating.
Jeremy Clarkson has been left frustrated over his plans to make improvements to his farm.
“But it’s not just me as it turns out. I thought it was, but farmers up and down the country are saying the same thing.”
The farm, subject of an Amazon Studios series called Clarkson’s Farm, has proved popular with visitors ever since the show was broadcast last June.
Jeremy bought the farm in 2008 and it was run by a villager, but when he retired three years ago, the Doncaster-born star decided to see if he could run it himself.
Jeremy took over the running of his Diddly Squat farm in 2019
The show was such a hit with viewers that people have been flocking to his farm shop in their droves, snapping up products like Cow Juice, rapeseed oil, jams and chutneys.
Reports have previously said neighbours had been left annoyed by the amount of shoppers who have queued for hours to purchase goods.
Talking about planning, Jeremy told the programme: “Without knowing it, West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) is writing a fantastic script and every farmer in the country will go ‘that’s exactly what’s happening’. You know, these, how can I put it, not terribly bright people in planning departments, just don’t understand what they’re messing around with.
Jeremy didn't hold back when discussing the plans
“I haven’t been allowed to build a farm track. I haven’t been allowed to build a car park even though the locals are saying there’s too many people parking on the road.
“It just goes on and on and on. The council’s answer to everything is ‘no’.”
Asked about what he wants the Government to do to help farmers, Jeremy said: “I think there is a role for the Government. At the moment, farmers as I understand it – and I am a trainee farmer – are allowed to change buildings that are smaller than 150 square metres, which is very, very small.”
The Amazon Prime star has plenty of ideas
He said he thinks it should be larger. He added: “I think farmers shouldn’t be allowed to build solar farms or housing estates without proper local consultation, obviously.
“But I do think the government should enable farmers to alter buildings of, say 500 square metres, without necessarily having to go to local planners, who are inevitably swayed by people in the village who wear red trousers and make fools of themselves and object. If they’re going to say to farmers ‘you must diversify’, they must say to local authorities ‘you’ve got to let them’.”
In March, Jeremy reapplied for planning permission for a car park extension. The proposal also included a “new storage compound and associated landscaping”.
It was rejected by WODC, who said the proposed development would “not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in scale with the existing farming business or its open countryside location and would have a visually intrusive and harmful impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
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