A district council has responded to claims from Jeremy Clarkson that getting planning permission for his Oxfordshire farm was akin to asking for a stylish New York venue to be built.

Mr Clarkson has been at the centre of many disputes with the West Oxfordshire District Council planning authority over proposals to expand his Diddly Squat Farm in Chadlington.

These included the rejection of plans to open a restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm as well as the dismissal of separate proposals for a pickleball court.

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South West Farmer: Jeremy Clarkson.Jeremy Clarkson. (Image: PA)

Writing in his column for The Sun last week, the former Top Gear star-turned farmer, said: "I came home and asked for planning permission to turn a building that was already there into a restaurant.

"A restaurant that would serve the beef, lamb, beer and potatoes that we grow on the farm.

"And it was like I’d asked for permission to build Studio 54."

Studio 54 refers to the former nightclub venue in New York.

South West Farmer: At Diddly Squat.At Diddly Squat. (Image: Agency)

Mr Clarkson went on to describe the district council's planning officials as "turning their guns" on his shop as he took exception to being refused permission to sell farming books in his column.

A West Oxfordshire District Council spokesman has responded to the claims.

He said: "As with any other planning authority, we have a legal responsibility to make sure that planning laws and policies are followed correctly by everyone.

"Most of these laws are set at a national level by the Government.

South West Farmer: A West Oxfordshire District Council spokesman has responded.A West Oxfordshire District Council spokesman has responded. (Image: Ed Halford)

"We have worked with the owners and planning agents of Diddly Squat Farm over many years and our aim is always to reach a positive outcome where the business can operate within those planning laws."

Ben Gibbins, who was county advisor for the National Farmers' Union in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, said he believes there should be an "attitude shift".

He added: "Your average farmer doesn't have a wealth of expertise and team behind them.

"There should be an attitude shift as they need support from local councils.

"It shouldn't just be major companies such as big tourism ones that have expertise.

South West Farmer: A vendor at the South Oxford Farmers & Community Market.A vendor at the South Oxford Farmers & Community Market. (Image: Contribution.)

"It can be a bit frustrating because farmers are used to doing things quickly whereas a lot of planning applications take the best part of a year.

"A lot of projects are pretty small scale."

The Oxfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England said last week it would be slightly cautious about a relaxation of planning rules.

Chairman Richard Harding said: "We have to be a bit careful not to allow unbridled development across the countryside.

"There have been some quite bad examples such as plans for a massive static caravan park beneath the white horse in the Vale of White Horse."

But Deborah Glass Woodin, who is manager at the South Oxford Farmers & Community Market, said: "The whole planning process is quite undemocratic an opaque.

"It shouldn’t be so confrontational."