A HOLME Valley councillor has hit out at proposals to increase parking charges in Kirklees.
Kirklees Council announced plans to put up charges last week.
Short-stay charges will go up in Huddersfield from 50p per 30 minutes to 60p from September - the equivalent of 2p a minute.
Long-stay charges will increase by 30p a day from February.
An all-day ticket will cost £2.50, a five hour ticket £1.70 and three hours 80p.
A further rise is planned for long-stay parking in February next year, though Holmfirth will escape this extra increase.
Charges in Mirfield and Dewsbury will not be affected by the plans.
Holme Valley South Clr Donald Firth has branded the plans a "disgrace".
Clr Firth, highways and transportation spokesman for Kirklees Council's Conservative group, has criticised the council's governing party, the Liberal Democrats, who put forward the charges.
Clr Firth said: "Frankly this administration has lost the plot and they are letting residents down throughout Kirklees.
"The increases proposed across Kirklees, particularly in Huddersfield, will kill trade in major town centres.
"They are penalising town centre workers who have no choice other than to pay long-stay charges they can ill afford.
"It is no good saying increases are comparable and competitive with neighbouring towns and cities because that is of no relevance to town centre workers and the shoppers will continue to drift to Meadowhall and the Trafford Centre, where they can park for free all day."
Clr David Payne, cabinet member for environment and transportation, said the charges had to go up for budgets to balance.
He said: "The alternative to balance the budget is to put up council tax."
The parking charges had not been increased for two years.
"This increase will last for two or three years."
He said they had increased long stay charges in line with Government policy, which aims to encourage people to find alternative transport to work.
The council had taken the more unusual step of increasing short-stay charges in Huddersfield to pay for new services set to benefit motorists.
He said: "Over the last couple of years, we have reduced car crime in car parks in Huddersfield by 60% through better security and CCTV.
"There has been waterproofing and maintenance work in multi-storey car parks and, by Easter, we should have a variable message signing system on the ring road to show people where there are parking spaces.
Clr Payne added that increasing short stay charges in Huddersfield would make drivers move on quickly, alleviating pressure on parking spaces.