Clarkson's Farm: Lisa Hogan on 'concern' from local farmers

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Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has broken his silence on how his public meeting with Chadlington, Oxfordshire locals about his Diddly Squat Farm Shop went. The star, who has documented his progress as a farmer in his Amazon Prime show Clarkson’s Farm, revealed that the village hall meeting wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.

Jeremy called the meeting with villagers last week, promising a “nice screw-top wine” and free cheese to try to defuse the tense situation over his plans for the shop.

The Grand Tour host admitted that at times, the meeting degenerated into “everything that’s wrong with Britain and why it’s my fault”.

Speaking out on why he arranged the meeting with his angry neighbours, Jeremy said: “Villagers gossip. 

“I thought the best way rather than have everyone guessing what I’m doing was to simply go down there.”

Despite some initial tensions during the meeting, Jeremy said that there were only “three very, very angry people” left in the room by the end of it, meaning it had been somewhat successful.

He added to The Sun: “There were, by the end, three very, very angry people in the room and 60 or 70 perfectly happy people.”

Villagers who attended the meeting said Jeremy revealed his plans to open a restaurant.

When he arrived, Jeremy said: “I’m just here to listen. Gossip spreads in villages and they don’t know what we’re doing so I thought, the best thing I can do is come down and say, ‘This is what we’re doing’, and then it isn’t gossip any more.”

 

After the hour-long meeting concluded, locals said Jeremy had shared his plans to turn a lambing shed into a restaurant, subject to planning.

He also said he was going to try to curb the amount of visitors travelling to visit his farm shop, according to reports.

This issue has prompted anger from villagers in recent months, as long queues have impacted roads in the local area.

Resident Maggie Jackson said after the meeting: “It’s become a theme park now. It’s just caused a lot of chaos and a lot of people driving through the village too fast. 

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“We’ve got an elderly people’s home here, we’ve got a children’s playground. It’s just not appreciating village life.”

Jonathan Moore, another villager who attended the meeting, said: “As expected there were some people who had very strong views either way.

“The people who had negative views made them more strongly. He gave his views for the future and that’s all we can really hope for.”

Detailing the reason behind his restaurant plans, Jeremy told the publication: “If Boris wants carbon neutrality by 2050, my cows don’t move more than five miles before they end up on the plate.

“But I need a restaurant to do that,” he explained. 

The star added: “Eating meat, if it’s grass-fed British meat, is a very eco thing to do. My cows are wandering around eating pasture grass and having a very happy life. 

“I know everyone wants cheap food. Farmers can produce it if the Government back off and we don’t have to jump through so many hoops.

“They tell us we’ve got to obey these strict rules, but Australian farmers don’t have to abide by British rules.

“The deck of cards is stacked against British farmers.”

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