Stop Diddly Squat

by Hamish Dewar

Stop Diddly Squat

by Hamish Dewar
Hamish Dewar
Case Owner
I am a painting conservator and have lived in Chadlington for 28 years. I have spent the last 35 years conserving paintings and now, reluctantly, find myself trying to help conserve an area of AONB
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Hamish Dewar
Case Owner
I am a painting conservator and have lived in Chadlington for 28 years. I have spent the last 35 years conserving paintings and now, reluctantly, find myself trying to help conserve an area of AONB
Pledge now

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Latest: Jan. 13, 2023

Jeremy Clarkson closes Diddly Squat restaurant

Sadly, and I guess predictably, not true.  Maybe a useful way to detract attention away from his recent vile outbursts.

He is saying that he will not try and re-open the second pop up restaurant …

Read more

I have lived in Chadlington for 28 years with my family and intend to leave, way in the future, in a recycled cardboard box.

I am hoping to prevent Jeremy Clarkson changing the use of a 'Lambing Shed' into a cafe and restaurant. As I understand it, the shed has had minimal agricultural use and has been a 'Trojan Horse' for far bigger aspirations. I believe this is an abuse of the planning system and a threat to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

I am hoping to raise funds to bring a legal case to ensure that celebrity and wealth alone cannot force through a planning application without the case of those with reasonable, and passionate, objections, being taken into account.

I must stress that this is not a personal vendetta against Jeremy Clarkson, who has many supporters in Chadlington who disagree with my stance. He has the platform, primarily in the Sunday Times, to put across his case, and, it must be said, to be (in the eyes of some) rude and offensive at will [ "moron”, “red trouser brigade” and “a busybody”] but also has the wherewithal, and apparent inclination, to be an inspiration for regenerative agriculture. His very near neighbour has, in my opinion, the moral high ground in the farming debate. If he can be stopped from pursuing what is, again in my opinion, a really daft idea, and focus on responsible farming, the world will, in one tiny corner of the Cotswolds, be a better place.

The plan to change the use of the lambing shed into a 50-seat cafe and restaurant is, in my view, flawed in so many ways, and should be opposed. There is also the (in my view entirely justified) concern that a 50-seat restaurant will grow to match the 150-head alcohol licence which has already been granted. Primarily, I will argue in my legal case that it is a real and imminent threat to an AONB, a very dangerous planning precedent where a 'Trojan Horse' application can abuse the planning system, and will lead to a traffic flow that will destroy the nature and character of a village which simply cannot safely accommodate the amount of cars, bikes, vans and buses that are already being attracted here by the fame and appeal of Jeremy Clarkson.

In order to take my case forward I need to employ a traffic and an agricultural expert, right now, to put my case to West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC). I will also need legal counsel, with the expertise and experience of such a high profile case, to represent me. To have any hope of being able to fairly and equably present my case I need the help of those who care, as passionately as I do, about rural England, or indeed, on a far broader canvas, about the conservation of those things that matter to us.

£5000 will enable me to seek the advice of a planning and an agricultural expert.

£10,000 will enable me to have formal responses from them, to be presented to WODC.

£25,000 will give me an initial fighting fund should this go to Judicial Review.

Every £ helps and every £ shows that people care.

There are so many other far more critical and crucial appeals than this, which we all read and hear about, and I am sure often contribute to, every day, so I thank you very much for reading to the end of this message. I cannot pretend that this is any more than what it is…a local planning dispute.

If you have the time and the inclination please do read the submissions, for and against, on the WODC website.

All the best


Update 5

Hamish Dewar

Jan. 13, 2023

Jeremy Clarkson closes Diddly Squat restaurant

Sadly, and I guess predictably, not true.  Maybe a useful way to detract attention away from his recent vile outbursts.

He is saying that he will not try and re-open the second pop up restaurant , which he had boasted as being a "delightful little loophole" to get around planning rules....but he is still appealing against all the enforcement orders and the threat to our area of outstanding beauty is undiminished.

To summarise:

    1    In spite of Clarkson's suggestion that he “no longer wishes to open a restaurant”, there is no suggestion that he intends to drop his appeal against the enforcement notice, including his appeal against the enforcement action in respect of the restaurant use. In other words, he is still trying to overturn the requirement that the restaurant / café be shut down.

    2    In particular, the latest documents submitted by Clarkson's planning consultants make clear that he is appealing against the requirement that he “Cease use of any part of the Land for sale or provision of food or drinks to members of the public for consumption on the Land” and that he “Cease use of any part of the Land as a restaurant or café”. The grounds of Clarkson's appeals include “ground (a)”, which means that he is intending to argue that “planning permission ought to be granted” for these matters. In other words, if he is successful in the appeal which is clearly still intending to pursue, then planning permission would be granted for the sale of food and drink to members of the public for consumption on the land and for a restaurant or café use. It is difficult to square that with his stated intention of ceasing the restaurant use.

    3    Even if he did intend to cease the restaurant use, the breaches of planning control go much wider than this and the enforcement hearing would need to address all these other issues.

So on we go and the hearing is set for March 14th.  We are still short of our target but your contributions have been extraordinarily generous and hugely appreciated.  We are going ahead as planned and will have both our solicitor and barrister at WODC on the day.  Any interested members of the public will be very welcome to attend and if they so wish, voice their support, if they can get a word in.

Update 4

Hamish Dewar

Nov. 2, 2022

Hearing date - 14th March 2023

Hearing date pushed way back to 14 March 2023

Update 3

Hamish Dewar

Oct. 28, 2022

Update on Stop Diddly Squat

An almost gentle nudge for any of you who are planning to contribute to our fighting fund, and prove that despite our lack of red trousers and our reluctance to throw insults at anyone who has the temerity to oppose our point of view, we can stop what has been a blatant abuse of the planning system. 

Our solicitor and barrister are preparing our case for the Appeal hearing and, most importantly, numerous people who live in Chadlington are coordinating all the evidence which has been collected over the past months, which clearly shows the extent to which Jeremy Clarkson has wilfully ignored planning regulations which are in place to prevent him doing exactly what he wants in this precious AONB.

We have great local support, as well as contributions from far and wide, from people who think this is important.  To dismiss us as Nimbys is tediously predictable, as are the numerous other comments sent via the Sunday Times.  I, for one, am really bored of his aggressive ranting.

Jeremy Clarkson will no doubt come to the appeal hearing with a small army of lawyers, and it is really important for us to have our legal team there in person to ensure this is a fair hearing.  Without their support and expertise it will, I am afraid, be too easy to steam roll us....although of course we are all well up for the scrap.  We need to reach our target as soon as possible to give us the best chance of success.

As always any contributions, however small, are hugely appreciated and they will demonstrate clearly the breadth and depth of our support.

Update 2

Hamish Dewar

Aug. 12, 2022

An update on Diddly Squat

An update:

After the Uplands Area Planning Sub-Committee in January refused Jeremy Clarkson’s application for planning permission for a "wholly inappropriate" restaurant and cafe, we have continued to monitor developments at Diddly Squat Farm.   Jeremy Clarkson had until July to appeal against the refusal.  He did not do so, but instead in March put in a new planning application for a greatly enlarged car park, no doubt to facilitate the (unauthorised) restaurant use. This was again refused by West Oxfordshire District Council in May.

Despite the string of failures to get the planning system to accept that his plans for this rural site, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are in any way appropriate, he has pressed on regardless and is trading extensively on the site, ignoring  planning constraints.  

He now has two restaurants on the site and car parks in various fields, demonstrating no respect whatsoever for the AONB in which he lives and works.  The main road from Chadlington to Chipping Norton has regularly been blocked with as many as 100 parked cars, which has then been frequently used as justification by Jeremy Clarkson that he should be allowed a permanent car park, despite him not having permission for the restaurant that necessitates the car park.

We are assured by WODC’s planning enforcement team that they are investigating the ongoing breaches of planning control and if they gather sufficient evidence of these breaches they will take enforcement action

Given the increasingly flagrant nature of the breaches, and the impact that those breaches are having on Chadlington and its residents, we hope that an enforcement notice will be served soon. There would then likely be a public inquiry to fully investigate the nature of the breaches. Criminal offences and High Court injunctions may follow.

It is largely thanks to all your great support and generosity that the applications were refused and full credit to WODC for standing up to Jeremy Clarkson, despite his repeated insults in his column in the Sunday Times.  Many thanks also to all those who live in Chadlington for their work to track and record the parking chaos and the numerous breaches of the planning system.  Jeremy Clarkson seems to believe that he is above and beyond such restrictions, and it will be very interesting to see how things develop.

Thank you again for your support and as always any suggestions or comments are gratefully received.

All the best


...who does not wear red trousers....


Update 1

Hamish Dewar

March 18, 2022

The latest from Diddly Squat

In the midst of what is happening in the world it does seem rather absurd to be worrying about a farm shop in the Cotswolds, but worry we do....

You were all so kind to contribute and I wanted to briefly let you know what is now happening as there have been stories in the press and there has been a considerable amount of building work going on at DS.

An application for a greatly enlarged car park and other work has been put in to WODC and the plan seems to be 'build first and ask later' in the hope that no enforcement action will be taken.  In my opinion, and of course I may be wrong, this would seem to be a blatant abuse of the planning system.  Others will disagree.

No appeal against the original decision by WODC has yet been lodged.

Thanks again for your wonderful support which is hugely appreciated.

all the best


For what its worth this is my objection to the latest plan:

I would like to object most strongly to the latest planning application for the Diddly Squat site, which has been, and continues to be, a blot on the landscape in an AONB.  In my opinion the only thing that has changed since the previous application was refused is that a considerable amount of building work has, and is, being carried out without permission and there is a consistent failure to comply with planning control, in what is clearly an abuse of the planning system.A large car park would necessitate a considerable amount of lighting which would do untold harm to the landscape. The car park is clearly intended to serve the restaurant which was previously refused planning permission and the proposal therefore has no public benefit whatsoever and would have a considerable negative impact on the area.This is not the only way to get the parked cars off the verges of the road up from Chadlington, which is in itself essential as they are a considerable hazard, as the obvious option would seem to me to be to relocate the farm shop to a different and more suitable site which is not within an AONB.  Such sites do exist nearby.  I would ask you therefore to please consider this application with the greatest of care as the implications are considerable.

and this is where the application can be seen:

22/00613/FUL | Extension to existing parking area to formalise temporary parking and provision of new access arrangements. Form new storage compound and associated landscaping. | Diddly Squat Farm Shop Chipping Norton Road Chadlington Oxfordshire OX7

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