Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
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Locals in pretty village relieved Jeremy Clarkson has bought £1m pub | UK | News

Villagers have enthusiastically backed Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to renovate a Cotswolds’ pub despite fears over increased traffic.

Clarkson, 64, paid “less than one million” for The Windmill and five acres of countryside, near the pretty village of Burford in Oxfordshire.

The dilapidated wedding venue is set to be totally transformed by the Grand Tour host, complete with a new name.

The disruption caused by Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop in Chadlington has attracted some criticism from neighbours.

But the inhabitants of nearby Asthall have so far given Clarkson’s big plans the benefit of the doubt.

Tom Walker, 51, who farms livestock and arable, was confident Clarkson’s arrival would buoy the local farming community. Tom said: “He’s already spoken to some of the farmers and talked about using their produce. I think he does a lot of good for farming.”

However, Tom, who runs the farm with his cousin John, had reservations about the influx of people. He said: “I am worried about the traffic – they will hopefully come off the main road.” But he added: “I think it will do more good than harm.”

Neighbour Derek Netherton, 79, who rents out an Airbnb in the village, was also optimistic about The Windmill’s new owner. He said: “We are excited for the extra custom, but we’re apprehensive about the noise.

“With a bit of luck the traffic will stay on the A40, as the roads are very narrow.”

Derek said he had watched Clarkson’s Farm, which he praised for being very good for farmers.

In the Sunday Times, Clarkson spoke of The Windmill’s grounds as previously being “a famous dogging site”. Derek added his understanding that the area had been used for underground bare-knuckle boxing fights.

Chris Townsend, 50, a metal wall art sculptor, hoped people would flock to Clarkson’s new pub. He said: “It potentially could be really positive for the area as The Windmill had been struggling for years.”

“I have a showroom so people waiting around could be brilliant,” said Chris – adding that the former Top Gear presenter’s plans for the pub sounded promising.

Clarkson has set out intentions to ban “noisy TVs”, encourage traditional pub games, serve only British produce, and hand out a free pint of Hawkstone to farmers. Chris said: “All that I have heard in the press sounds good.”

Fiona Dunbar, 50, owner of Cotswold Home Manager, was also supportive of Clarkson’s endeavours. She said: “If he is taking over a business that is struggling, helping British farmers by stocking their produce and raising awareness of how hard it is for them, then go for it.” She added: “The Cotswolds is full of traffic anyway.”

Tanya Hunt, 44, who works at the same company, added: “He is brilliant for farming and is trying to help, not annoy. He is like marmite, and I love him.”

James, 60, who withheld his surname, also thought the pub’s new ownership would benefit the area. He said: “It’s obviously good for the village, but I am concerned about how busy it will get.”

James had moved to the area five years ago to find a corner of peace and quiet. He added: “It’s a bit manic over (at Diddly Squat), but this will be a restaurant so hopefully it’s a bit different.”

Clarkson hasn’t won over everyone just yet. When asked for their reaction to Clarkson’s purchase, one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Am I allowed to swear? I’ve never been keen on him to be honest.”

The pub is not expected to open until later this year to allow time for refurbishments, and a wedding booked in before the purchase, to take place.

A renovated Windmill will drive competition with The Three Horseshoes – the quaint and only pub in Asthall, which is owned by Daylesford. The inn is part of Lady Bamford’s Daylesford Stays collection.

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