More than 2,000 people have put their name to a petition to stop on-street car parking charges in parts of Pendle.
Lancashire County Council is considering introducing charges for on-street parking in Nelson, Colne, Burnley, Clitheroe and other towns, in a move which has infuriated local shoopers, traders and politicians.
Campaigners from Colne will travel to Preston today to hand in the petition to county council bosses gathering at the County Cabinet meeting.
In addition there has been a shoal of emails sent to county councillors and Cabinet members in the past few days, an online petition, and strong lobbying of local county councillors from all quarters of local opinion.
The lead petition organiser, Colne Town Coun. Jamie Hargreaves, said: “Almost every shop and other premises in the town centre has taken petition forms – there has been real anger and bewilderment at the proposal and enthusiasm for the campaign to stop it.
His Liberal Democrat colleague, Pendle Borough Coun. Dorothy Lord, who will be travelling to Preston with the petition, said: “For many years we have promoted the free parking in Colne as part of the attraction of our town, which has so many small and specialist shops dependent on people being able to stop off in the town as they pass through. We have to keep this.”
County Coun. David Whipp will be at County Hall to receive the petition and pass it on to the Conservative administration who have to decide whether to drop the idea or take it forward.
As well as Colne, another 12 Lancashire towns are affected by the proposal including the other main Pendle town of Nelson.
“We will work with them all to stop this threat to our town centres,” said Coun. Lord.
County Coun. Azhar Ali, Labour leader on Lancashire County Council, said “At a time when the Conservative Government claims it wants to help shop keepers in our towns, we have a Conservative Council in Lancashire looking to strangle trade on the high street by the introduction of this tax.
“This is a tax on trade that will see struggling local shop keepers pushed to the limits as passing trades and convenience shopping will go elsewhere.
"People across Lancashire are working hard to attract people to the local high street only to find their towns are to be used as a Conservative cash cow. On top of the 6% council tax increase with more increases to come.
“The council has also decide not to have this as part of the public consultation on the budget. Instead they will try to pick off one town at a time.
“At the Cabinet meeting I will be demanding that this proposal be dropped. This has nothing to do with parking management, safety or availability. This is a straight forward tax on cars. That is why it's in the budget papers.”