Campaigners have threatened to launch a legal challenge if proposals to install car parking charges on a popular high street are approved.
Great Harwood is one of a number of towns being considered for the scheme in a bid to raise around £200,000 for cash-strapped Lancashire County Council.
Councillor Gareth Molineux described the ‘absolutely absurd’ idea as a ‘council tax through the back door’ and will look to have the decision judicially reviewed.
The plans sparked a heated stand-off at a County Hall cabinet meeting on Monday where a wider £77m package of budget reductions were being discussed.
Conservative council leader Geoff Driver temporarily adjourned the meeting when Liberal Democrat group leader David Whipp tried to present a 2,500-signature over the parking proposals in his area.
More than 1,100 people have signed a similar petition against the scheme in Great Harwood.
Coun Molineux said: “If this is something that gets through then I will be looking to take advice on whether it could be judicially reviewed because it is a council tax increase through the back door.
“It’s absolutely absurd. He [Geoff Driver] has lost touch with reality. What he should do is either go to the government and ask for more money or have a referendum and put his case forward for a bigger rise in council tax.
“Parking charges will close some of our independent retailers down, cause even more deprivation on the high street and then the council will lose out on business rates.
“What they should be doing that would generate income and help the shoppers in Great Harwood and the other town is to have more regular parking patrols and issue more fixed penalty notices. If they took a more proactive approach and enforce parking regulations that are already there then it would generate more income than this would do.”
Coun Geoff Driver said a consultation will be carried out before any decision is made.
He said: “The cabinet has not resolved to introduce charges for kerbside parking in Hyndburn or anywhere else.
“We have resolved to consult with businesses and residents in the districts mentioned in the report to see if there is a need for it in order to maximise the use of scarce parking availability.”