A council made nearly £300,000 profit from its car parks last year, but despite this charges will continue to rise until 2015.
Kettering Council made £286,745 from the six town centre car parks it owns and maintains in 2010-11, higher than the previous two years.
In 2009-10 the council made £260,997 and it had a profit of £268,998 the year before.
The increase in parking charges has fuelled anger among town centre traders, who have presented a petition with 2,000 customer signatures plus more than 100 traders signing up in protest to the price rise.
Cllr Alison Wiley, portfolio holder for finance, said: “Along with council tax, car parking is a major revenue stream for the council.
“We are hugely sympathetic to town centre traders.
“We want to have a thriving town but we are balancing car parking charges with our other objectives, like a zero increase in council tax.
“When we’re dealing with having a £2m reduction from our Government grant, a modest increase in car parking charges comes into perspective.”
Cllr Wiley also said the new prices bring them in line with inflation.
Charges have also increased year-on-year from 2007.
Janet Seaton, 66, of Valley Rise, Desborough, said: “I’m not surprised the council made so much from it because of how high the parking charges are.
“It really puts me off coming into the town, especially with so many boarded-up shops currently in the town centre. I come into Kettering because of necessity. I think other towns are better to shop in and are so much cheaper.”
Benjamin Muddle, 33, of Balfour Street, Kettering, said: “Nearly £300,000 is a big amount. Then they put the charges up for parking while street lights are getting turned off.
“Kettering is getting far too expensive to park in, for people with little money or elderly people, it makes their life a little bit harder.”