Jeremy Clarkson’s farm restaurant is being investigated by the local council after the TV presenter claims he found a “delightful little loophole” to open for business.
Plans for the Diddly Squat restaurant had been rejected by councillors over concerns it would be “out of keeping” with the local area outstanding natural beauty in the Cotswolds.
But Mr Clarkson said last month an eatery on Diddly Squat farm – which is the focus of the TV show Clarkson’s farm – was open for bookings.
West Oxford District Council said it was now investigating the eatery in Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.
“The council was made aware of the restaurant opening at Diddly Squat Farm,” a spoksperson said.
“As part of our standard operating procedure, we have been looking into the operation to ensure it is compliant with local and national planning law and policies, as well as licensing and food hygiene regulations,” the spokesperson added.
The council spokesperson added they could not comment on “any ongoing investigations”.
Mr Clarkson lost his bid to extend his Diddly Squat farm with its own restaurant in January, with councillors voting against plans for a 60-seat eatery.
The council’s planning officer, Joan Desmond, said at the time: “By reason of its design, scale, siting and nature of the use within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the proposed development would have a visually intrusive and harmful impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquillity of the area.”
But the former Top Gear star later told reporters the restaurant would be “opening anyway” in a different barn on the site under a “delightful little loophole”, claiming this way did not requre council permission.
He also tweeted: “I’m thrilled to announce that you now have a chance to try the amazing food we grow and rear on my farm at the brand new (but quite rustic) Diddly Squat Restaurant.”
Items on the menu are all locally sourced, featuring snacks like sticky beef croquettes with aioli and pickled chilli, and mains such as Roasted topside of beef with vegetables.
Diddly Squat Farm has been approached for comment by The Independent.
Additional reporting by agencies