Shoppers and visitors to Nelson and Colne face having to pay to park on the street in what could be a huge blow to local shops and businesses.
The proposals, which will be discussed by Lancashire County Council when it meets on Monday, would see the end of free parking currently enjoyed for 40 minutes in the towns.
A petition has been placed in local shops and social media groups are organising mass write-ins to county councillors.
Colne Town Coun. Jamie Hargreaves, one of the organisers of the petition, said: “A lot of the traders in Colne depend on passing trade, people dropping by on the way home or when going to collect kids from school, or coming into town for a coffee or snack. This will be a disaster for our town.”
The proposal is to install kerb-side parking meters and to charge shoppers and others to park in the town centre.
This is part of a proposal to extend the number of affected streets in Preston and Lancaster and to put up meters for the first time in 13 towns around the county.
They include Colne and Nelson, in Pendle, and Padiham, Burnley and Clitheroe.
Pendle Liberal Democrat Coun. Dorothy Lord said: “We have fought off proposals to charge for parking in Colne over very many years and we do not want it now.
“Compared with a lot of similar towns Colne is a busy and successful place to shop. This is down to hard work by everyone over the years.
“We do not want to see decisions like this, which would be made by county councillors from Preston and beyond, blundering in on what they do not understand.”
Opposition to the proposals has generated cross-party support with the Conservative leader of Pendle Borough Council also raising concerns.
Coun. Paul White said: “I had a really useful meeting with County Coun. Jeff Driver, the leader of the county council last week and have also spoken with him since about the proposed on-street parking charges.
“Clearly, as the leader of Pendle Council I want to do anything we can to protect free parking and support our high streets in Pendle and that’s what I’ve said to County Coun. Driver.
“He’s assured me that no decision has yet been made and I’ve offered any support we can give in working towards a solution.”