Villagers boycott Waitrose after car park attendant sacked

Villagers in upmarket Alderley Edge boycott Waitrose after car park attendant was axed: Locals backed by ex Corrie star Charlie Lawson and Man Utd legend Willie Morgan fight to ‘Bring Back Bob’ after he was suspended for ‘letting people park for free’

  • Residents gathered for a demonstration outside the store in Cheshire

Angry villagers say they are boycotting their local Waitrose store after a popular car park attendant who is a pillar of the community was suspended from duties.

Residents including Manchester United legend Willie Morgan and ex-Coronation Street star Charlie Lawson gathered for a demonstration outside the supermarket in upmarket Alderley Edge, Cheshire, this week as part of the campaign to ‘Bring back Bob’.

Robert Shaw, known as Bob, claims he has been accused of ‘letting people park for free’ on the pay-for car park just off the main London Road. He also says there was a complaint someone overheard him swearing.

Shoppers in the village have to pay a set fee of £1 for up to 90 minutes to use the supermarket car park, which is then discounted for anyone using the Waitrose store next to it.

But customers who say Bob is ‘more than just a traffic warden’ are up in arms. 

The car park is operated by Britannia Parking, not by Waitrose, and it is Britannia who employ Mr Shaw. He was suspended earlier this month after eight years working full time patrolling the car park.

But a number of fuming villagers say they now won’t shop in the Waitrose supermarket or park there until the issue with Bob is resolved. Over 120 people have signed a petition calling for his immediate reinstatement.

Fuming villagers assemble outside Waitrose in Alderley Edge to call for Bob the car park attendant to be reinstated

he warden for the car park has been suspended after claims he ‘let people park for free’

Shoppers in the village have to pay a set fee of £1 for up to 90 minutes to use the supermarket car park, which is then discounted for anyone using the Waitrose store next to it

Gaynor Morgan has been leading the campaign to ‘Bring Back Bob’ and says: ‘Bob is not just a car park attendant, he’s a part of the community. 

‘He’s a friend to people, the people here trust him so much they leave their kids in the car while they nip in to the shop or he’ll mind dogs for shoppers. That shows you how much a part of a community he is.

‘This decision is outrageous, people are boycotting Waitrose now because of it, the villagers are behind him, so we all hope we can get Bob back. This is a man’s life we’re talking about, it’s not a game here, and we’re behind him all the way.’

Actor Charlie Lawson, who played Corrie legend Jim McDonald, joined a group of supporters including shoppers and local business owners outside Watirose calling for Bob to get his job back. 

He told the MEN: ‘Bob was a great asset to the village, our cars were secure, he’s just a very friendly guy.

‘He looked after us, he lifted bags of shopping into cars for people, I have dogs so Bob would always know to look out for the dogs when I came to the supermarket. 

‘He was genuinely just a friend to everyone shopping at Waitrose, he looked after our cars, so this is all just a stupid load of b****y nonsense.’

Waitrose have said it is important to make clear that Mr Shaw is not employed by them, but by the car park company Britannia. But they said they are aware of the situation in Alderley Edge.

The spokesperson said: ‘While we can’t comment on individual cases, we are aware of a number of inaccurate rumours which have been circulating on social media. Our team at Alderley Edge remain absolutely committed to welcoming customers and giving them the excellent service they expect.’

The car park is operated by Britannia Parking, not by Waitrose, and it is Britannia who employ Mr Shaw

A Britannia Parking spokesperson added: ‘As a responsible employer, we work hard to make sure our teams are supported in their roles, and only take action if there are legitimate concerns. We’re unable to comment on the specific details of our investigation.’

Mr Shaw, 65, from Stockport, who has been suspended while the allegations are investigated said: ‘I’ve been told one of the complaints is that I’ve been letting people park for free, while another complaint is that someone said they overheard me swearing. 

‘I can only think that would be when I’m talking about football, and especially about Man United because come on, you do get frustrated about that.’

He added: ‘It has been upsetting, because I like to think I’ve been a help to the community over the past eight years on that car park. 

‘I mind people’s dogs, I give marriage guidance, counselling, someone called me ‘Mr North West Information’. People say ‘can you keep your eye on my baby while I go in the shop’ and the kids all call me ‘Mr Bob’.’

He said he fears this could now be the end of his career. He said: ‘I don’t want to retire, but I feel that’s the way this is going.’

Business owners are rallying around in support of Bob too. Carla Fishwick from the Style Lounge hairdressers said her clients are devastated that he’s not there.

She said: ‘I’ve had so many people come up and say ‘where’s Bob?’ There are mums I know who if they’ve got kids in the back after school will know he’ll keep an eye while they run in to the shop.

‘I have a lot of clients who rely on him. One is quite poorly and Bob would always help with their shopping to the car, because that’s what he’s like. He’s helped people a lot and everyone feels upset that this has happened.’

Nigel Ramsay, who manages the Just Plonk wine shop in Alderley Edge, says: ‘Bob is a pillar of the community, he’s a great guy and since running the shop here he’s always been most faithful guy, the whole community think the world of him.

‘He’d even alert local businesses if shoplifters were about, that kind of thing. I’m not going back in Waitrose again after this. Bob needs to get reinstated.’

Former councillor Marc Asquith who lives in Alderley Edge said: ‘He’s a stalwart of the village, kids love him and know him as Mr Bob. People are now parking everywhere now he’s gone.

‘When would you ever get a group of people together asking for a traffic warden back? But that’s because Bob is no ordinary traffic warden.

‘Yes, he gives out tickets where appropriate, there was one car left abandoned here that I saw got several tickets on it. But he also does so much for the community.’

MailOnline has contacted Waitrose and Britannia Parking for further comment.  

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