Traders and shoppers have criticised planned car parking price increases and claim the charges are hitting trade in Kettering town centre.
Prices at a number of car parks across the town will increase in the new year and shop owners and managers are worried that this will badly affect business.
Kettering Council agreed the increases at a meeting of the executive committee in 2011 and prices will rise annually until 2015.
David Aguilar, director of Bee Inspired, in Market Street, Kettering, said the price of parking has led to a fall in his business and the rise on January 1, 2013, will be another blow.
He added: “I handed in a petition last year and we got nearly 2,000 customers who were against the prices.
“I personally think that people expect to pay for parking, but they expect to pay reasonable prices. They do not expect to pay the world.”
A number of car parks will be affected, including Wadcroft, Commercial Road, Queen Street, School Lane and the municipal offices car park.
The price increases will vary between locations, but London Road charges for up to two hours and up to three hours will remain the same.
The School Lane “Pop and Shop” bays will rise from 30p to 40p.
Ray Mills, of Mister Ray in Market Place, Kettering, said that the current situation is ridiculous.
He added: “It is this end of town that is struggling. At the other end you have Morrision’s car park, which is free.
“Why can’t the council do something like that at this end?”
Cllr Derek Zanger said the annual rises were agreed in 2011, are reviewed every year and the council tries to keep them as minimal as possible.
He added: “We are always going to keep the charges to a minimum.
“But with inflation and cost of living, the costs will have to go up too.”
Cllr Zanger added that the council made sure the “Pop and Shop” prices remained low and that the London Road prices stayed the same for stays of up to two hours and three hours – adding that blue badge parking is available in the town centre.
The Telegraph asked people on Facebook about the parking situation in Kettering and received a huge response.
Lauren Spickett said:”Kettering town is dead, nothing worth going there for.
“Corby is definitely the place to shop around here, they have got it right, cheaper parking and a much better choice of shops.
“Kettering Council could learn a lot from Corby.”