Business owners have been left fuming after a council opted to hike up parking prices in part of one Kent borough, while it remains free in the other half.
But parking in Snodland, Aylesford and Larkfield is to continue without charges.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council took the decision not to impose pricing in the those areas, because it was thought they were still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.
West Malling, Borough Green and Tonbridge on the other hand were said by cabinet member Cllr Piers Montague (Con) to be more "destination" locations where high demand for parking places would support higher charges.
The council's eight cabinet members heard that nearly half of the public responses to a consultation on the move, answered by 66 people, were angry about the unfairness of the different approach in the two halves of the borough.
Cllr Mark Hood (Green) said: "Since 2011, it has cost the council £41,770 to run the car park in Snodland, £58,220 to run the car park in St Martin's Square in Larkfield and £85,760 to run the three car parks in Aylesford."
He said: "That's a total of £185,750 that motorists in one half of the borough are already paying to subsidise parking in the other half."
Cllr Hood said it would be far more equitable to impose "a modest charge" in all car parks across the borough.
He said he agreed with the comments made by a member of the public to the consultation that: "The cost of parking in Tonbridge is far higher than elsewhere, leaving residents there under the impression they are subsidising the rest of the borough.
"This is unacceptable. Times are tough for everyone in 2022, but all should share the burden equally."
But cabinet member Cllr Kim Tanner (Con) said the communities in the northern part of the borough were contributing in other ways. She said: "For example, 75% of the new development has gone on there."
Cabinet members unanimously agreed to press ahead with the increases despite the protests.
West Malling Parish Council said it "strongly objected" to the increases, which amount to 10p per hour in the high street, meaning four hours' parking will cost £3.40.
The parish said: "To increase charges at a time when the High Street is attempting to recover from Covid 19 and there are such difficult trading conditions will only have a detrimental impact on businesses."
The parish was supported by a West Malling businessman, who said: "We are horrified. Are you intentionally trying to cripple business in West Malling? This is yet another nail in the coffin for the town."
He said: "Visitors will stay away from West Malling and travel just a little further up the road to Kings Hill where they have a doctor's surgery (which we no longer have), restaurants, pubs, shops etc - and all free of charge to park."
The authority was particularly angry at the charges at the Ryarsh Lane car park, which is extensively used by nearby residents who are unable to park in the street.
It is currently a season-ticket only car park between Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm. That will change with parking charges introduced of £1.10 for one hour, £1.80 for two hours, £2.60 for three hours and £3.40 for four hours.
A Ryarsh Lane resident said: "There are insufficient parking spaces on Ryarsh Lane, meaning that residents make use of the Ryarsh Lane car park in the evenings and at weekends. I work from home often on weekdays and it is often difficult for me to find a space on the lane. However, the car park is always fairly empty - which makes being charged even more frustrating."
"This is yet another nail in the coffin for the town..."
The Ryarsh Lane Allotment Society also objected saying its members often used the car park. One said: "Ryarsh Lane is a nightmare, assuming that you can even get a parking space there."
As a concession, the borough council ruled that residents who lived close to the Ryarsh Lane car park would be offered the opportunity to buy an annual season ticket at a proportionately lower rate.
In the Tonbridge short-stay car parks of Angel, Botany, Bradford Street, Kinnings Row, Lamberts Yard and River Lawn, there will be no change to the 70p charge for 30 minutes, or the £1.40 charge for one hour, but there will be an increase of £1.40 to £5.60 for parking for four hours with additional hours at £2.80 an hour. The annual off-peak season will go up by £30 to £320.
In the Tonbridge long-stay car parks at Sovereign Way Mid and Waterloo Road, there will be no change for one hour at £1.40, but an increase of 10p to £2.60 for up to two hours. The fee for parking up to 23 hours will go up by 10p to £6.80, but there will be the introduction of a new residents' season ticket for three months at £87.50.
The Tonbridge long-stay car parks of Sovereign Way East, Sovereign Way North and Lower Castle Field, will see no change to the £1.40 charge for one hour, but increases of 10p per hour for other durations.
Similar increases will follow at Vale Road, Upper Castle Field and Castle Grounds car parks, except at the latter two there will be a new charge allowing longer-stay parking of £5.60 for four hours, and £2.80 per hour thereafter.
In Borough Green, all charges will be increased at the rate of 10p per hour, so that four hours will cost £1.50.
Finally at the Leybourne Lakes and Haysden Country Parks, there will be an increase of 40p to £1.80 in the up-to-four-hour tariff, but no increase in the over-four-hour tariff of £4. The annual season ticket will rise by £10 to £60.