Burnley Borough Council clocked up hundreds of thousands of pounds in profit from parking charges last year, figures reveal.
The AA says many local authorities see drivers as a “wallet on wheels”, and has accused some of using parking fees to plug budget gaps.
Parking services in Burnley raised £301,000 in profit in 2018-19, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data.
This was 15% more than the previous year, when it made £261,000.
All the profit made by the council last year came from off-street parking, such as local authority-run car parks.
A Burnley Council spokesman said: "We recognise that paying for parking isn't something anyone wants to do but it's a fact of life in towns and cities across our country. Daily parking charges were frozen on council-run car parks for the third year running this year.
"The increased revenue from parking partly reflects the increasing number of people coming to Burnley and using the car parks which is an encouraging sign as far as the local economy and jobs are concerned."
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels. At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool used to try and fill the councils’ coffers.
“Some of the incomes are eyewatering, so drivers want to see that cash reinvested in local roads to eliminate potholes and poor road markings.”
Transport research charity the RAC Foundation said profits could be overstated in some areas, as costs such as interest payments are not included.
But Steve Gooding, the foundation’s director, said: “What will surprise drivers is that even as parking income soars, the amount of money being spent on routine road maintenance by councils has been in reverse.”
The rise in profits made from parking in Burnley reflects the trend across England, where profits hit a record high of £936m.
This was an increase of £63m. from the previous year.