Now it looks like you’ll have to spend £10 in Waitrose in order to park for free outside of it...

Waitrose, Berkhamsted
Waitrose, Berkhamsted

Waitrose shoppers in Berkhamsted will have to spend at least £10 in the supermarket in order to get free parking outside from tomorrow, it is alleged.

The new car park rule will come into play just weeks before a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store is due to open nearby

Berkhamsted man Trevor Clarke, 63, phoned this website today after he heard about what was about to happen.

He said: “It is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, really, with the £10 threshold. Personally I think it would be a bit lower.

“I often pop in there for a sandwich – that will now cost me £1 extra. What about all the people who go there for a pint of milk or a cup of tea in the cafe?”

He said he could understand why the new rule was being introduced – as commuters sometimes use the car park before travelling into London, and stay there all day.

They leave in the evenings when the barriers have gone up without spending anything in-store, he added.

Drivers are now only meant to get two hours of free parking there – and only if they spend money in Waitrose, but there is no minimum on the amount spent.

Mr Clarke said he had spoken to managers at the supermarket, who conducted a survey that found about 30 cars park outside of the store all day without moving.

But he suggested perhaps Waitrose could still allow 10 minutes of free parking at the store’s car park for people who just want to pop in for low-price items.

Waitrose says two hours will allow shoppers time to visit the supermarket for a food shop as well as visiting other shops and businesses in town.

Branch manager at the Berkhamsted store Steven Laughton said: “Our car park has seen rising demand in recent years, so to help our customers park without facing a queue, we’re providing two hours free parking, when they spend £10 or more with us.”