The extremely divisive issue of whether Jeremy Clarkson should be allowed to build a restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm comes before a West Oxfordshire District Council planning sub-committee this afternoon.

The TV presenter whose runaway hit show Clarkson's Farm has brought countless visitors to the area has applied to open a new 60-seat café or restaurant and 70-space car park at the site in Chadlington, near Chipping Norton.

A total of 53 objections have been received by the council, with another 12 letters of support.

Planning officers have recommended refusal on the grounds the restaurant would be out of keeping with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Council planning officer Joan Desmond concluded that: “By reason of its siting, design, scale and location, the proposed development would not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in scale with the existing farming business or its open countryside location.”

She reported: “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.”

If permitted, the restaurant would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, between 8am and 3pm, and 5pm and 10pm.

In September Mr Clarkson admitted the farm had "swamped" the village but said it led to increased trade for businesses.

He told Jeremy Vine: "There is more traffic, yes, but there is more business - the village shop is doing better, the cafe in the village, the pub in the village - they are all doing better.

"They are swamped with people but they are swamped with people spending money."

A planning report said the lambing shed he hopes to convert was built in 2020 after a new flock of sheep was bought to diversify the farm business.

It has now been merged with another local farmer's flock.

Documents state the building has since been used, without planning permission, as a cafe and a bar area.

Chadlington Parish Council said it held a public meeting in November to decide its view on the "divisive and contentious" application but a vote was inconclusive.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) West Oxfordshire said any new restaurant would be a "major incursion" into the AONB and would "spoil the rural nature of the Upper Evenlode Valley".

WODC "recently" served Diddly Squat Farm with a planning contravention notice after allegations that products sold in its shop were not grown, reared or produced on the farm, or from other local producers.

If proved, that would be in contravention of a condition of the planning permission in November 2019, the council said.