JEREMY CLARKSON'S FARM BRINGS 'HORDES OF PETROLHEADS', LOCALS SAY

Jeremy Clarkson's 'overpriced' Diddly Squat farm shop has angered more locals as they say it has become a hotbed of petrolheads with 'nightmare' traffic now taking over their previously quiet village.

Residents in Chadlington say the 'tourist attraction' is making driving around the village awful, with backlogs of traffic and loud engines now the norm.

Others say that even if they could make it inside without queuing for 'three hours' they still wouldn't, with overpriced goods for sale which is 'mainly merchandise'.

People living in the quiet Oxfordshire village feared speaking out against Jeremy Clarkson after claims of death threats to residents who have.

Mr Clarkson's show on Amazon Prime has been so popular worldwide that residents have had malicious emails, post and messages on social media from people living as far as America warning them not to say anything bad about his farm shop.

Speaking today, retired Reggie Leggett, who has lived in Chadlington for 30 years with her two dogs said: 'I've got real shops 50 yards away - why would I ever go to Diddly Squat? 

'We've got a fantastic farm shop, a café, a pub. Everything we need.

'He is disgraceful. It's not really a farm shop, it's really a tourist attraction. He's mainly selling merchandise.

'Before he opened the shop he used to put potatotes at the end of the road in an honesty box, they were actually lovely.

'But now he's opened the shop the whole thing is a nuisance. The roads around the farm shop are completely destroyed and there's so much traffic here as a result. 

'Honestly, I can hear the difference between a Lamborghini and a Ferrari now because I hear so many of the cars.'

Another neighbour, who didn't want to be named after seeing the onslaught of hate against other residents on Facebook, said: 'We don't use the shop simply because I don't want to stand in the queue for three hours. It's a lot of traffic to get in as well and I don't think it's worth it.

'His shop is really controversial around here. However, I would personally rather he was there than sold it off to a developer which builds tonnes of new homes, we're really new to the area though so that could change.

'The thing is Diddly Farm Shop is so controversial because people don't want their pretty village blighted by this but that would be very different if there was parking, and enough of it, so it would be less chaotic here.'

Somebody else, who retired in the quiet village of Chadlington years before Jeremy Clarkson set up camp also didn't want to be named after another resident, who set up a petition to stop him building a restaurant, was subject to a campaign of harassment from Mr Clarkson's fans overseas. 

The attack became so personal that they were left 1* Google reviews on their business.

They said: 'We definitely would never, ever shop at Diddly Farm shop over any other shop. 

'He's meant to only sell produce from 12 or a 16 mile radius and that's part of the conditions of him building the shop, but he's used a loophole to get around that. 

'The honey is also £12.50 for the smallest pot, it's extortionate. That is actually made locally but it's not made for locals.

'The grass verges have been completely destroyed by the cars, and the thing is the car drivers park on either sides of the roads and then families walk down the middle of the road like it's a caravan park or pedestrianised, it's so dangerous. 

'Somebody is going to get hurt soon. There needs to be somewhere for them to park but I fear it's not going to be enough spaces for the thousands that show up.'

Another resident added: 'Sometimes I have to take a six-mile detour to come home, the other day I had to go back via Dean just to make it past the traffic. 

'At 12pm on a Saturday or Sunday you just can't get around here because the roads are blocked by cars and then there's others queuing to find somewhere to park.

'This area wasn't made for a theme park. I would never shop there, even if I didn't have to queue to get in there, there's nothing in there for me and it's too overpriced.'

The row over car parking has intensified in recent months as the shop becomes more and more famous. 

But as its popularity continues to soar, the farm's lack of suitable facilities to cater for such an influx of customers was again laid bare.

One local resident who did not want to ne named because of the fear of reprisals, said yesterday: 'It is true the items on sale at Diddly Squat are at a premium price, people are still flocking them.

'The effects of what they are doing when parking on the verges is very disturbing in what was a nice peaceful village before the farm shop. 

'They are churning up the verges and everything around the perimeter of the shop is looking a bit of a mess. Mr Clarkson definitely needs to create some place on his land, where shoppers can park up safely.'

It comes as a number of cars were left on boggy mounds on the side of a road outside Diddly Squat which have deteriorated in recent days as more and more people flock to visit.

But Clarkson remains locked in a planning appeal battle with West Oxfordshire District Council, which refused to grant permission for him to extend the shop's car park in May last year.

A two-day Planning Inspectorate meeting was held this week to consider proposals by the 62-year-old former Top Gear presenter to accommodate 70 more vehicles.

The plans are opposed by WODC on the grounds that it would encourage more visitors to Diddly Squat farm - which sits between Chadlington and Chipping Norton - adding to traffic problems.

The council has also said allowing more vehicles would further disturb the tranquility of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Taking to Twitter, Clarkson said the recent furore 'makes it sound like a civil war is raging', but insisted 'a compromise will be reached'. 

It comes after it was revealed teenage workers at Diddly Squat have to wear bodycams to record abuse directed at them from angry locals over the influx of visitors. 

Annabel Gray, 32, who works on a catering trailer at Clarkson's farm, said this week that workers as young as 16 on the farm have had to have cameras installed on their uniforms.

She also responded to a complaint made in a meeting by Chadlington resident Hilary Moore who described tourists attracted to the farm as 'motorheads' who drive slowly on surrounding roads to 'show off their cars'.

But Ms Gray said this description was 'unfair', and that she had 'witnessed local people' adding to traffic issues by driving slowly too.

Ms Gray, who is also a farmer's daughter, said Clarkson's shop provides 'important' education for visitors, some of whom do not realise that 'beef burgers come from a cow'.

Other villagers who support Diddly Squat farm have described it as the 'crown jewel' of sustainable living as they pleaded with their local council to allow the expansion plans.

It comes as camera crews were spotted back in Chipping Norton on Thursday to resume filming of his hit series, Clarkson's Farm.

It also emerged that the broadcaster has invested in a new beer trailer to serve his flagship Hawkstone lager.

Farmhand Kaleb Cooper shared a photo of the new 'mobile bar' on Instagram - with a photo showing a grey trailer with pink paint over the roof. 

While it's not clear what permissions Clarkson will need to set up the bar on his land, generally planning permission does not need to be sought for temporary structures that are used for less than 28 days a year. 

He already sells alcohol in his shop so may not need an additional alcohol licence.

Clarkson's struggles have prompted some local councillors to call on officials to go easy on the star, with Liam Walker - a Conservative member of Oxfordshire County Council - suggesting he was being treated differently from other developers. 

'Jeremy is Marmite and he knows that,' he told MailOnline. 

'Of course the council will say all planning applications are taken at face value but I do wonder if some of my council colleagues came to it with a predetermined view.'  

Clarkson is also challenging its decision to shut down his restaurant on the same plot of land because he allegedly opened it without planning permission in July last year. 

It comes as a court heard how Clarkson's sidekick, Mr Cooper, was a first responder after a 'selfish and careless bat out of hell driver' ploughed into a Ford Ka outside the TV star's farm.  

Mr Cooper was on hand to block off the road to traffic after Lewis Smith, 25, had ignored give way signs at a junction on the A361 near Chadlington and smashed into the oncoming vehicle with his Ford Fiesta in September 2021. 

The driver of the KA, a woman in her fifties, along with Smith's passenger, a man in his twenties, sustained serious injuries. 

Smith, who, along with his passenger, was not wearing a seatbelt, was jailed for two years yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

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2023-03-18T11:00:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd