COUNCIL bosses have defended their decision to hike up borough parking charges by ten to 20 per cent.

The new fees are set to come into force on all council run pay and display car parks from Sunday June 29.

Motorists parking on car parks in the main town centres of Stourbridge, Halesowen, Dudley and Brierley Hill will be charged around 17 per cent more to park.

But Dudley’s cabinet member for transportation, councillor Khurshid Ahmed, has stressed the borough is still “one of the cheapest places to park in the Black Country”.

He added: "Car parking charges this year have risen in line with the agreed budget strategy for 2014/15.”

Motorists staying up to an hour on council car parks will have to cough up 70p instead of 60p; for up to two hours the cost will rise from £1.20 to £1.40; for up to three hours it will go from £1.80 to £2.10; and for over three hours the cost will be hiked up from £3 to £3.50.

But motorists parking on council car parks in smaller shopping centres such as Kingswinford and Sedgley will have to cough up an extra 20 per cent in loose change.

The cost of one hour’s parking will go up from 50p to 60p; up to two hours will incur a charge of £1.20 instead of £1; and up to three hours parking will rise from £1.50 to £1.80.

Evening charges will rise from £1 to £1.10 across the board.

The cost of a 12-month season ticket will also rise from around £400 to £460.