A High Wycombe supermarket has apologised after a “disgusted” pensioner was slapped with an “unfair and unjust” parking fine.

Paul Simmons, from Marlow Bottom, regularly plays bowls at the Wycombe Leisure Centre at Handy Cross – but because the leisure centre car park has to be shut during bad weather and the Park and Ride was full, he parked at the Waitrose car park when he visited on January 30.

Mr Simmons, 71, said he felt like parking in the Waitrose car park was also the “safest option” amid a spate of catalytic converter thefts from cars across High Wycombe in open air car parks.

After playing bowls, he went into Waitrose to make a quick purchase and went home thinking all was well – but on February 17, a parking fine came through the post.

Waitrose head office said that if he had bought something in the store, he should be able to go to the shop and get the charge cancelled – but he was “curtly” told by staff there that they would not be overturning the fine.


Mr Simmons said: “With that I walked away pretty much disgusted with their attitude. Given all the circumstances I feel that this penalty charge is unfair and unjust.

“I can partly understand the point of view of Waitrose as they stipulate one and a half hours parking only, but I think this is a bit extreme because if you decided to go in there and shop and also go to one of their two cafe areas then that is making it tough to stay within that time limit.

“My wife and I have at times done a large shop there and had lunch and that has taken us two hours.

“I must admit that going in and out of the Waitrose car park we have never really seen the time limit, I know it is there because I saw it the other day but generally most people like us just drive in there and look for a potential space and so don’t really look at the notice boards.

“I have alerted the rest of bowling fraternity at Handy Cross to this situation as I am sure that at times when the multi-storey is closed as it currently is and the park and ride is full, where else do the 60/70/80 year olds park?

“I think the more far reaching problem is that there is a clear issue as a result of the continuing closure of the multi-storey car park as the park and ride is being heavily used and on top of that there is the catalytic converters thefts scenario which is a big worry of course and added to that work has just started on the land just beyond the Waitrose car park so that will no doubt further add to the problems - presumably workers on that site will park in the park and ride?”

The Bucks Free Press contacted Waitrose on Mr Simmons’ behalf – and the parking fine has now been cancelled.

A spokesman for Waitrose & Partners said: “We're sorry to hear about Mr Simmons' experience on his recent visit to our store. We provide 90 minutes free parking for our customers which is signposted across our car park. We apologise that Mr Simmons was given conflicting information and will cancel his charge on this occasion."