Charges for using council-owned car parks in Kettering will stay the same until 2021.
The fees - which we revealed were the most expensive of nearby shopping towns - had been subject to a review by the council’s ruling executive committee.
This week they decided not to reduce the fees, with the cost of an all-day ticket remaining at £6, although new bands will be introduced.
Opposition leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, William Knibb) criticised the lack of consultation with the public.
He said: “I asked if there had been any kind of consultation with local residents or businesses at all.
“Given they didn’t answer, and there was no mention of any in the actual report, I can only assume there was not.
“They probably wanted to just sneak this decision through as quietly as possible and were only suggesting the small changes they were because they had to do something.”
Under the new charges, which will come into effect from from April 1, 2018, all council car parks will cost £3 (three hours), £4 (four hours), £5 (five hours) and £6 (all day).
Two hours’ parking in London Road and at the Municipal Offices (on a Saturday) will cost £1.50, with two hours in the Municipal Offices from Monday to Friday or Commercial Road, Wadcroft, School Lane or Queen Street costing £1.50.
Those car parks which cost £1.50 for two hours will also cost £1 for one hour.
There will, however, be an extra hour of free parking on a Saturday with charges starting from 9am rather than 8am.
But Cllr Scrimshaw said it was a ‘missed opportunity’ and that the leading Conservatives had reneged on a manifesto promise.
He said: “Given that this was one of the main Conservative election promises back in 2015 I cannot see how local residents will be anything but disappointed.
“They have kicked this issue into touch for the last few years and have now pushed though the smallest possible changes in the quietest possible way.”
In a report discussed by councillors, the council said freezing charges would equate to a real-terms reduction in costs.
They said that charges in 2020/21 would be at the same level as in 2011, a real terms reduction of about 22 per cent.
The report added that car parking income is vital to ensuring cuts are not made elsewhere.
It said: “The history of raising income through local charges means that the council is reliant upon the current level of income it receives from car park charges to ensure that the savings targets do not increase and it also provides funding for offering a good quality parking offer.”