Entertainment

Teenage workers on Jeremy Clarkson’s farm are allegedly having to “wear body cameras” after locals directed “abuse” at them.

It comes as the television presenter battles to get his expansion plans for Diddly Squat Farm approved after they were turned down last May by the council.

West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) and some villagers are against Clarkson, 62, extending the car park of his farm shop to accommodate 70 vehicles in total as they are concerned it will encourage more visitors to the site in Chadlington near Chipping Norton and add to traffic problems.

Allowing more vehicles would further disturb the tranquility of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty, WODC added.

At a two-day meeting where the planning inspector is considering Clarkson’s plans, Chadlington resident Hilary Moore said on Tuesday that tourists attracted to the farm were “motorheads” who drive slowly on surrounding roads to “show off their cars”.

But on Wednesday, Annabel Gray, who works on a catering trailer at the farm, said this was an “unfair” description, and she had “witnessed local people” adding to traffic issues by driving slowly too.

Ms Gray, 32, also claimed 16-year-old workers on the farm donned bodycams as a precaution following alleged abuse directed by villagers.

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‘Massive opportunity for council’

She said: “Diddly Squat has an important opportunity to educate people about local farming and I find it really frustrating that the council is overlooking that.

“This is a massive, massive opportunity for WODC. I am begging you that this is something that can be improved on rather than turn your back on.”

Local butcher Henry Lawrence, who supplies Diddly Squat, said the shop could be “the crown jewel” of sustainable farming and that his business has grown “dramatically” since trading with it.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that two people who are against Clarkson’s plans have received death threats.

An unnamed councillor and a member of the public have been the subject of malicious communications for speaking out against the former Top Gear host’s proposals, according to WODC.

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Chadlington Parish Council chairman Andrew Hutchings claimed there was “a range of opinions” on the farm in the village, but most agreed that it had “clearly outgrown what it was built for”.

‘Tipping point reached’

He said: “We have reached a tipping point between a farm shop and a tourist-type attraction for people who want to see the celebrity as well as the farm.

“The problem comes when you have too many visitors… the traffic is a major issue to the community at large.

“It’s very hard to see the proposed car park dealing with that at peak times.”

The council claimed the car park expansion indicates a change in the use of Clarkson’s land from being for the shop to being for “leisure activities”, which would need different planning considerations. In August 2022 he was ordered to close dining areas at the farm over an alleged planning law breach.

He bought the 1,000-acre site in 2008 and his efforts to run it have been featured in two series on Amazon Prime called Clarkson’s Farm.

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

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