DRIVERS were today dealt a new year blow with the news that parking charges are set to go up.
Kirklees Council's Cabinet is due to agree to the rises when it meets this month.
Long-stay charges are set to go up in February, followed by short-stay charges in September.
Motorists quizzed by the Examiner today said they were unhappy with the increases.
One woman said Huddersfield was already the most expensive place she knew for parking.
The rises - due to be approved on Wednesday, January 14 - will mean short-stay charges going up in September by 10p an hour.
On the streets, short-stay charges will be from 50p to 60p for 30 minutes.
But charges will be frozen at present levels in Dewsbury and Mirfield.
Long-stay charges will increase by 30p a day from February.
That will see all-day costs for motorists rising from £2.20 to £2.50, charges for five hours going up from £1.50 to £1.70, and for three hours up from 70p to 80p.
A similar rise for long-stay parking is planned for February, 2005.
Charges in Holmfirth will stay the same.
Clr David Payne, Cabinet member for transport, said the rises were the first for two years. It was intended the new prices would remain for two to three years before being reviewed.
He said car park takings had been invested in security measures, leading to a 60% fall in car crime.
There had also been major improvements and repairs, said Clr Payne. He added: "The balance of parking charges proposed is geared to encouraging town centre parking for shoppers, encouraging turnover in the most used car parks and freezing charges where shoppers have little choice where to park."
He said parking charges in Kirklees would still be lower than, or comparable with, neighbouring towns and cities.
But news of the proposed increases was greeted with dismay by users of the Albion Street car park in Huddersfield town centre.
Repair work has been going on at the car park, which today was in a sorry state. It was part-flooded, with one area coned off.
Dawn Hopkinson, 45, of Milnsbridge, who spends £20 a week on parking, looked round the car park and said: "It's not kept very well. If I go to Dewsbury the parking is a lot cheaper there."
Marilyn Smith, 57, of Milnsbridge, travels all over Yorkshire with her job in the Civil Service and said Huddersfield was the most expensive place to park.
She said the council could not justify further increases, particularly in relation to the Albion Street site.
"They have been working at it for ages. We have all had to come up and down on traffic lights. Just look at it this morning," she added.