Jeremy Clarkson’s neighbour has launched a legal battle against his plans for a restaurant at his farm – while also claiming the former Top Gear host called him a ‘moron’.
Painting restorer Hamish Dewar says the former Top Gear presenter, 61, also called him a ‘busybody’ in a row about Diddly Squat, a farm which became the subject of hit Amazon TV series Clarkson’s Farm.
Mr Dewar says he fears the picturesque village of Chadlington, Oxfordshire, where the two live is turning into a ‘Jeremy Clarkson theme park’.
Clarkson plans to build a 60-seater restaurant on the site of his farm shop, which currently hosts a small café inside a disused lambing shed.
Mr Dewar has expressed concerns about proposals to expand the site – which sits directly at the top of the village.
He claims villagers are now afraid to complain about Clarkson’s project out of concerns they ‘might appear in one of the journalist’s columns’.
Mr Dewar, 65, has lived in the sleepy countryside village for 28 years – and says it has now been beset by tourists and traffic problems.
Jeremy Clarkson’s neighbour has launched a legal battle against his plans for a restaurant at his Diddly Squat farm – claiming the former Top Gear host called him a ‘moron’
Painting restorer Hamish Dewar (pictured) says the former Top Gear presenter, 61, also called him a ‘busybody’ in a row about Diddly Squat, a farm which became the subject of hit Amazon TV series Clarkson’s Farm
He said: ‘I think people are quite wary of expressing their opinions because Clarkson tends to respond in his column in the Sunday Times.
‘I think that means people are quite reluctant to speak out.
‘He’s written about me in the Sunday Times, calling me a busybody and a moron.
‘He also described the chairman of the parish council in a very rude manner.’
The proposal has received 33 objections from local residents, along with a toxicology report suggesting the site is based on a former quarry and could be potentially toxic.
Consultee ERS Pollution, said the land is a former quarry which might be ‘contaminated’. It claimed that the proposed site has been previously used as a quarry so may contain ‘filled ground’, while an investigation will have to be carried out before building can take place.
In October, Clarkson came face-to-face with angry villagers at a public meeting to answer concerns about his plans to develop his farm shop. Pictured on his farm
Mr Dewar outlined his concerns, saying: ‘The concern is [Chadlington] is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
‘If he gets permission for this restaurant, the amount of traffic will have a significant impact on the village.
‘[Currently] there is very little to come and look at.
‘But if there is a restaurant and a bar with an alcohol licence until 11pm at night, there is going to be many more cars coming into the village.’
Mr Dewar said he does not want it to appear as though the whole village is against Clarkson.
He added: ‘A lot of people have expressed their comments and complaints regarding the planning application on the council’s website.
‘But the legal side of it, I’m doing on my own.’
Clarkson’s planning permission application requests the local authority consent to build a 60-seater restaurant, along with 70 car parking spaces and an alcohol licence up until 11pm.
While Clarkson has been criticised by some neighbours, he has been praised in the agricultural industry for his efforts to promote the sector
Clarkson’s plans to expand his farm (pictured) have been thrown into doubt as a response to his application said the land is a former quarry which might be ‘contaminated’
In the planning application to West Oxfordshire District Council, his team said Diddly Squat Farm is ‘facing an acute reduction in the Basic Payment Scheme’, a government subsidy, which is currently being phased out.
It said the payments will reduce from £83,298 to £0 over the period 2020 to 2028, meaning the business may begin to struggle financially over time, explaining his desire to expand now.
It read: ‘It is reasonable for a farm business to investigate ways to replace this income with on farm diversification to create new income streams or expand existing enterprises.’
The application stated that the Government subsidy received by Diddly Squat Farm ‘accounted for over 85 per cent of the business’s profit’ this year.
Mr Dewar added: ‘It’s a very beautiful area with beautiful views and this is completely out of character with the surrounding countryside.
‘Clarkson got permission to build there for agricultural use and now he wants to change it into a café and restaurant without giving it a fair chance to be used for agriculture.’
While Clarkson has been criticised by some neighbours, he has been praised in the agricultural industry for his efforts to promote the sector.
Speaking at Cheltenham Literary Festival last month, author and farmer James Rebanks said Clarkson has done ‘more for farmers in one series of Clarkson’s Farm than Countryfile has achieved in 30 years’.
The popularity of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime has led to queues for the Diddly Squat Farm Shop, with neighbours growing concerned with the increase in traffic in the area
According to property website Rightmove, searches for homes in Chadlington increased by 511 per cent in June – the month Clarkson’s Farm first debuted – compared to the same period in 2020.
In October, Clarkson came face-to-face with angry villagers at a public meeting to answer concerns about his plans to develop his farm shop.
The controversial presenter called the meeting at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, after hearing rumours of concerns about his exceptionally popular farm shop.
In a bid to quash his neighbours’ fears, Mr Clarkson invited the local community to join him in the village hall to discuss the farm shop and enjoy cheese and wine.
Posters around Chadlington read: ‘As there seems to be some debate in the village about what’s going on at Diddly Squat, Jeremy Clarkson will be at the Memorial Hall to explain his plans and to take any questions you may have.
‘Everybody from the area is welcome to attend. Cheese and wine will be provided.’
Fans from all over the country have been queuing up for two-and-a-half hours to get inside the Diddly Squat shop since the launch of the hit Amazon Prime show Clarkson’s Farm, provoking some complaints from neighbours.
Police were even called out to manage traffic chaos in June, caused by hundreds of Jeremy Clarkson fans descending on his farm in the hope of meeting him and to check out his stock, which includes honey, chutney and T-shirts.
Villagers are divided over the impact of the shop, which opened less than a year ago, with some saying it has put Chadlington on the map and boosted the local economy.
The broadcaster bought the plot of land in 2008 and Clarkson’s Farm follows the presenter’s highs and lows of tackling the 1,000 acre working farm.
The presenter recently revealed he was ‘the happiest he has ever been’ and that he ‘loved every second’ of filming the new hit show.
His Diddly Squat shop is described as a ‘small barn full of good, no-nonsense things’ on its official website.
The Amazon Prime series follows an intense and frequently hilarious year in the life of Britain’s most unlikely farmer and his team, as they contend with the worst farming weather in decades, disobedient animals, unresponsive crops, and an unexpected pandemic.
A second season of Clarkson’s Farm was commissioned by Amazon in July 2021.