THE council has scrapped restrictions on where Controlled Parking Zones can be introduced as part of a desperate attempt to plug a hole in a failed budget, according to Conservatives.

CPZs, which require residents to buy permits to park near their homes, were initially implemented in the early 00s to prevent commuters clogging up roads.

The council's policy until now has been to only allow them in "priority areas", such as town centres and roads around transport hubs.

But a new policy agreed by cabinet members allows CPZ's to be based in "areas of current or future parking stress".

No area will be now be off-limits for a CPZ as long as parking problems in the area are likely, which will be determined by surveys and site observations.

A CPZ can be brought in if more than half of the respondents of an area (not of the population as a whole) agree.

Cabinet members have also scrapped a rule stating their has to be a three-year wait before consulting again if a CPZ has been turned down.

A 12 month permit for one vehicle can range from £22.50 to £90, depending on its engine size and CO2 emissions, and up to £160 for a second car.

This has prompted claims that the council is merely looking to raise revenue.

Conservative group leader Matt Davis said: "We feel that this is a further unwarranted attack on the motorists' of this borough, which is almost everybody."

"It has nothing to do with genuine proven need, it is do with the council trying to increase its income because its budget has fallen apart."

It was revealed last month that the council's efficiency review, which is supposed to make massive savings, is running four months late, meaning the authority has to save an extra £4.5m this year.

The authority has still not revealed where the money will come from.

Cllr Davis said: "Over the next few months you will see all sorts of desperate schemes to raise money, if Cllr Loakes is to keep his promise to keep council tax rises to 2.5 per cent."

A report approved by Cllr Terry Wheeler, cabient member for investment, said the current CPZ policy is "not flexible enough to deal with the concerns of local residents and businesses."

It said: "Heavy on-street parking creates a range of problems including increased risk of traffic accidents, problems with litter and street cleansing and increased fear of crime."

At the meeting Cllr Wheeler said: "We clearly have an opportunity to encourage people to walk, use public transport or transport generally."