Clarkson, cliches and the Chipping Norton set | Letter

Oxfordshire village life does not conform to outdated stereotypes, writes Chris Rawlence

In the piece on boy racers stirring up Cotswold villagers by their visits to Jeremy Clarkson’s farm (‘We’re just not used to it’: Clarkson farm shop causes stir in the Cotswolds, 10 September), I was sad to read the “frozen in time” and “Chipping Norton set” tropes that tend to characterise metropolitan takes on Oxfordshire village life. Chadlington is in fact alive with radical outward-looking initiatives in sustainable farming, arts in health, and sustainable tourism. The village has a thriving music community, being home to several composers and performers with international reputations.

The recent Covid-inspired influx of Londoners, while making housing even less affordable for locals, was not driven by a desire to live a “chocolate box” life so much as to escape diesel particulates and find space for young families. And as for Chipping Norton, take a look at the recent local election map. There’s a red splodge there that’s chiming with the Green/Liberal Democrat Fair Deal Alliance that now runs Oxfordshire county council. The Chipping Norton set cliche has had its day.
Chris Rawlence
Chadlington, Oxfordshire

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