A solicitor who won his High Court battle over parking charges said it was “regrettable” the council stood by increases they knew were “legally and morally wrong.”

David Attfield, 46, who lives in East Finchley, has fought for two years to challenge the cost of Barnet Borough Council’s controlled parking zones (CPZ).

He launched proceedings after the council raised the cost of a household's parking permit from £40 a year to £100.

Mr Attfield argued the council had misused its powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, by setting charges to raise money to spend on other traffic schemes unrelated to parking.

He said: “Barnet Council has been caught picking the pockets of CPZ residents.

“Despite making up less than ten per cent of the borough, they were being made to contribute disproportionately to a range of services such as road repairs and the provision of bus passes.”

The father-of-two added he had brought the action because the “absurd” cost of visitor parking, raised from £1 to £4 was affecting how residents were able to enjoy their homes.

He added: “Simply holding a summer barbecue or a children's party could cost £40 in parking charges. An elderly person enjoying regular visits from a relative could face an annual cost of £800.

“Today's judgment confirms that Parliament never intended local authorities to take a large cut every time a book club meets or mums get together for coffee.”

Mr Attfield first applied for a judicial review in February 2012, which was rejected.

He successfully had the decision overturned by the Court of Appeal the following May, and the case was heard at the High Court on July 3.

He added: “It is regrettable Barnet has spent more than two years, and tens of thousands of pounds, standing by charges they should have known were legally and morally wrong.”

Mr Attfield’s lawyer in the case, Andrew Brookes of Anthony Gold, said he was full of admiration for his client’s “commitment and tenacity.”

He added: "The money he could now claim back from Barnet Council is just £120. That is not why he took this stand.

"He was motivated by his concern for all the people who could clearly not afford this astronomical hike in fees.

“This ruling now clearly proves that Barnet Council, rather than funding parking through its fees, as the Government intended when it passed the law, was raising money for illegitimate and unlawful purposes.”

However Barnet Council has declared it will appeal the decision, arguing its charges were in line with other London boroughs.

The leader of the council Richard Cornelius said: “I very much believe that our spending of the income from our parking account on items such as road maintenance and transport services is entirely within the scope of the special parking account under the Road Traffic Act.

“That said it is fairly clear that the council raised the price of parking permits, after five years of a price freeze, too abruptly and rather charmlessly.

“I will make sure that doesn’t happen again.”