People who live in controlled parking zones in Barnet are being “viciously exploited” by the borough council with new charges, according to campaigners.

Motorists face an inflationary five per cent rise in car park and residential permit charges on April 30 but the council has also added a £20 fee for short-term permits in CPZs.

The temporary badges, issued to full-time permit holders wanting to park a different car in their road for a short period, are currently free of charge.

Campaign group Barnet CPZ Action says the new charges represent a “stealth tax” on residents who are already overcharged with the current fees.

Group campaigner David Attfield is incensed at the latest additional charges he described as an additional burden for those needing to change their car.

The 44-year-old, of Summerlee Avenue, East Finchley, said: “Imagine you buy a new car. This is a £20 charge for someone who has already paid £105 for their residential permit and who will probably have to pay £21 for a temporary one while the new permit is sent through.

“This effectively adds £41 to the cost of changing your car. It is a stealth tax – it is simply not true that it costs the council £41 to process these changes.”

On the five per cent general increase, he added: “It is worrying that the council seems intent on raising these extremely high charges that cost a lot more here than in other boroughs.

“It used to go up every two to three years and you could at least get a respite but these seem to be increasing endlessly.”

Barnet Council has more than doubled the cost of residential permits since January 2011 from £40 to £105.

The authority has pledged to freeze the cost of the badges for those who buy them online, though several web customers have complained they are still being charged the new prices.

In a statement, a council representative said: “On-street parking charges for 2012/13 will remain at their current levels. Charges for residents’ permits will also remain frozen for those choosing to purchase their permit online. The charge for temporary permits covers the administration cost of processing the new permits.”