Death threats made against opponents of Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm expansion plans | Ents & Arts News


Two people who are against Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to expand his Oxfordshire farm have received death threats, it has been revealed.

An unnamed councillor and a member of the public have been the subject of malicious communications for speaking out against the TV presenter‘s proposals, according to West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC).

At least one of the threats has been reported to Thames Valley Police.

The former Top Gear presenter bought the 1,000-acre site in Chadlington near Chipping Norton in 2008 and his efforts to run Diddly Squat Farm have been featured in two series on Amazon Prime called Clarkson’s Farm.

Jeremy Clarkson in Clarkson's Farm. Pic: Amazon Prime Video
Image:
Pic: Amazon Prime Video

The threats were made some time after the second season of the show aired on 10 February.

WODC refused to grant Clarkson planning permission for an extension to his farm shop car park in May last year.

The planning inspector has been holding a hearing into Clarkson’s appeal on the matter, where extra security measures were put in place due to the threats.

The 62-year-old star is also challenging the council’s move to shut down his restaurant on the same plot of land because he allegedly opened it without planning permission in July last year.

An WODC enforcement notice in August 2022 stated the “nature, scale and siting” of the dining venue was “incompatible with its open countryside location” in the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty.

The council then ordered the restaurant be closed and the dining tables, chairs, parasols, picnic tables, and mobile toilet be removed.

Diddly Squat Farm was featured on Amazon Prime series. Pic: Amazon Prime Video
Image:
Pic: Amazon Prime Video

‘No place for threatening or abusive behaviour’

On the death threats, the council said in a statement: “Unfortunately we have had to take safety precautions following a number of threats and abuse directed at councillors and local people since the airing of season two of Clarkson’s Farm.

“This has included death threats and as a result we have had to consider a range of safety measures to protect councillors, staff and residents.

“We understand people may not agree with decisions taken by the council but there is no place for threatening or abusive behaviour.

“It damages the democratic process when people feel intimidated and do not feel safe to express the opinions they are entitled to.”

Read more:
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Clarkson ordered to close dining areas at Diddly Squat Farm

People working on behalf of Clarkson argue the council’s decisions on his plans are “excessive” and they are not in breach of planning laws.

Current planning permission allows Clarkson to use the farm as a restaurant, and there has been no “material change” to the land, according to the John Phillips Planning Consultancy, in an appeal against the enforcement notice.

But WODC’s lawyers argued that the “level of use of the site” has “significantly increased” due to the restaurant, and the land is “now used for a mix of purposes which go well beyond that of a farm shop”.

The council has said that due to these reasons, the existing planning permission “could never apply” to the new enterprises on the site.

A final decision on the plans will be published in the coming weeks.



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