Councillors will be immune from controversial parking charge increases they are considering unleashing on the borough, it can be revealed.

While residents will have to stump up to park in their own streets until midnight under the proposals, Croydon councillors can use their members’ permits to park wherever they like for free.

More than 100 passes are allocated to Croydon’s 70 councillors, with some senior councillor’s households enjoying the benefits of two or more golden tickets.

The proposals have been met by fierce opposition with the ressurection of campaign group Croydon Residents Against Parking Plans (Crapp) originally formed to fight similar parking increases in 2002.

Peter Morgan, who is supporting Crapp’s fight against the proposed charges, said: “It’s ridiculous councillors are not going to be affected by these charges.

“I’ve collected 710 objections so far, and it’s clear people are furious about this.

“A council permit for all car parks costs £1,000, so the council could be saving £110,000 by stopping councillors from doing this.”

Alfonso Camisotti from the South End Traders’ Association said: “I just feel it’s one rule for them and one for everybody else.

“I don’t want to have to pay to visit church on Sunday, I don’t want my friends to have to come and pay to visit.

“What’s next? Do we carry our cars on our backs? It’s complete double standards.”

Council cabinet member Phil Thomas, who will make the final recommendation on whether the charges are implemented, has two permits – one for his BMW and another for his wife’s sports car.

He said the fact he could park for free in the extended controlled parking zones (CPZs) would not affect his recommendation.

He said: “It’s irrelevant whether I get a pass for my car.

“I use my parking permit for council business when I’m seeing constituents, or on visits to have a look a things on behalf of the council. I would say I am entitled to two passes.”

Mr Thomas said he had used his permit to park for free at the weekend while he met residents opposed to the proposed charges.

Fellow cabinet member and Waddon Councillor Simon Hoar, who also has a pass, said he would be fighting for his residents when the decision is taken on February 9.

He said: “I don’t think it’s unfair for me to use my permit, because it’s working on council business. I will be representing my residents at the meeting and I hope we win.

“There’s been a lot of comment on this, it’s probably the biggest issue I’ve come across in my time as councillor.”

A council spokesman said: “Each elected member of the council is entitled to two parking permits, which, in the case of two-car families, avoids the necessity of moving a permit from one car to another in the event of a member’s usual car being unavailable.

“The permits may be used only when on council business.”

Campaigner quit threat

A community campaigner who helped net Croydon Council a multimillion pound regeneration grant has vowed to quit his role if the authority goes ahead with its controversial parking proposals.

Mark Thomas, pictured below, said extending parking charge hours to midnight seven days a week would devastate large-scale events in the revamped Wandle Park, which is undergoing a £2m makeover.

The 34-year-old said he would quit his position as chairman of the Friends of Wandle Park if the proposals are passed by the council’s traffic management cabinet committee on February 9.

He said: “I just think ‘what’s the point?’ – I feel so bitter.

“I have been working my guts out getting people to vote for the regeneration scheme, and doing work that would have had to be done by council officers.

“The park is in the north zone and it’s going to affect it big time – there are only a certain amount of spaces. This is going to make so many people’s lives a misery, and it’s unnecessary.

“It’s dead around our area once the shops are closed, and it’s only going to affect residents and their friends and family when they visit.

“Once these things get approved they are never revoked, so if people don’t fight it now we are going to be stuck with it.

“In residential areas where there’s nothing but people living there it stinks.”