JEREMY Clarkson has dramatically clashed with killjoy locals during a showdown meeting over controversial plans to develop his farm shop.
The former Top Gear host’s proposals have caused chaos with neighbours of the Diddly Squat store in Chadlington, Oxfordshire.
A meeting at the Memorial Hall was held tonight with the presenter, 61, attempting to squash fears over the growing popularity of the shop.
Thousands of fans have shown up to the store after it opened less than a year ago – with Clarkson’s Farm landing on Amazon Prime this summer.
The hit show has attracted huge crowds trying to get into his farm, with cops even called to manage traffic chaos in June.
But angry villagers are divided about the surge in attention to the rural area, with some saying it has boosted the local economy while other are concerned it is affecting the community negatively.
Around 80 local residents were allowed into the meeting, giving their names and postcodes to gain entry, with some queuing up outside from 5.45pm – more than an hour before the meeting started.
Mr Clarkson arrived five minutes before the start, driving his Range Rover into the overflowing car park and blocking two other cars in as he made his way into the hall.
The former Top Gear star stopped to pose for selfies with fans before the meeting took place at 7pm.
One furious local even gave him the finger as he entered alongside farm manager Charlie Ireland.
Blunt Kaleb Cooper, a star of his hit series, also attended and is regularly seen shouting at the star on his show.
But the pair were not able to go into the meeting as the hall was at full capacity – so waited outside in the rain.
Clarkson was quizzed by locals in the village hall, with them asking him what he thought the outcome of the meeting might be.
He told reporters: "Who knows? 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.
"Someone gave me the finger on the way in."
'THIS IS OUR VILLAGE'
Questioned about the traffic caused by customers to his popular farm shop, he quipped: "Hey listen, the village has created a bit of a traffic jam tonight."
But one furious villager said: “The things is Mr Clarkson, you are not a farmer.
“You are a media personality and farming to you is a sideline. But this is our village and we have to live with the consequences.”
Residents' main concern appears to be a backlog of traffic affecting Chadlington and neighbouring villages.
Maggie Jackson, a business manager, suggested Clarkson should temporarily shut his farm – as it has become a site for "petrolheads".
She said: "There are people driving onto that farm after 9am and driving around. It has become a petrolhead destination, and he is well aware of it.
"He has one simple power, which is to shut it temporarily until he can get it under control."
Another woman, who lives just a couple of minutes from Diddly Squat Farm but wished to remain anonymous, said she "admires his guts".
She said: "If he can build, why can't we? We have land up there too that we would like to build on."
It has become a petrolhead destination
Bethan Dennick, 52, had come from the other side of neighbouring Chipping Norton.
She said: "We just want to know what he is planning, because it is already impacting us so much driving wherever we go.
"I live just the other side of Chipping Norton and I've had to change my route to work as a result.
"I do think that his programme has done a lot for farming, so there's positives and negatives.
"But it will be interesting to see what he has planned and how the infrastructure will cope."
CHEESE AND WINE
Posters were put up around the village advertising the meeting, and even offered cheese and wine to those who attended.
Posters put up ahead of the meeting in Chadlington read: "As there seems to be some debate in the village about what's going on at Diddly Squat, Jeremy Clarkson will be at the Memorial Hall to explain his plans and to take any questions you may have.
"Everybody from the area is welcome to attend. Cheese and wine will be provided."
Clarkson bought his the farm in 2008 and it was run by a villager, but when he retired in 2019, the TV presenter decided to see if he could run it himself.
The Amazon series won plaudits for its beautiful cinematography coupled with the lovable group of staff who were not afraid to tell Clarkson when he was being useless.
Last November the star submitted a Building Control Application to convert his lambing shed into a cafe to “sell alcohol and provide entertainment”.
He was given an “initial acceptance” for the proposal and earlier this year was handed permission to sell alcohol between 9am and 11pm on the premises.
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