Shoppers and businesses believe planned increases in parking charges across the district will be bad for the local economy.

The fees will increase for the first time in five years and are set to be implemented from May 1.

Epping Forest District Council will apply new tariffs in its off-street car parks in an attempt to generate an additional £150,000 from parking revenue, as set out in the 2014/15 budget.

Proposed tariffs see users of short stay car parks charged in line with inflation over the past five years, increasing a stay of up to three hours from £2.80 to £3.20.

Long stay car parks are set to increase above inflation over the past five years to reflect charges in place at tube station car parks, increasing a stay of more than two hours from £2.80 to £3.50.

Geoff Makepeace, 60, who owns the Epping Sandwich Bar and Bakery in High Street, said: “Any increase is not good for business.

“We want to make it as easy and cheap as possible for people to come here.”

Sally King, manageress at Lanes Dress Agency in High Street, Epping, said: “The increase isn’t good for shopper coming to Epping.

“It’s an extra reason for people to shop elsewhere.”

Alison Cokeley, 34, from Chigwell, comes to Epping two or three times a month and usually spends a couple of hours shopping.

She said: “I come here because it isn’t that expensive but I might reconsider if they put the charges up."

Susan Bax, from Roydon, who had come to Epping to shop, said: “We have had to rush today in order to get back to the car.

“If the prices go up then I don’t think it will be worth coming here. I would go to Hertford or Harlow instead because there’s more there and their parking is cheap.”

Cottis Lane car park in Epping will be cheaper than other short stay car parks, with a cost of 70p per hour up to a maximum of five hours.

All short stay and combined car parks will retain a 10p charge for 30 minutes.

The council is now in consultation with businesses and residents over the proposals.