ANGRY traders are preparing a mass protest over controversial new parking charges.

Shopkeepers and business owners say they will make their voices heard at Wrexham Council’s executive board meeting on Tuesday when the proposal to introduce evening on-street parking charges will be discussed.

If their concerns are ignored the traders are threatening to withhold their business rates.

Stephanie Booth, chairman of Wrexham’s Chamber of Trade and Tourism, said her members had not been allowed sufficient time to put forward their objections to the local authority’s proposals.

Mrs Booth said she had received an email from a council official about the proposals only yesterday morning.

She said: “It said if members of the chamber wanted to make representation to the executive board they had just a few hours to let the council’s head of legal services have a copy of the question they wished to ask. The deadline was midday on Wednesday.

“We need to have more than three or four hours notice. I think this was a blatant attempt by the council to avoid opposition.

“We intend for the chamber to be represented at Tuesday’s meeting and the views of the business community should be heard.

“If we are not going to be allowed to have a proper voice then we will have to consider a boycott on paying business rates until we get fair play.”

Mrs Booth said the parking charges plan was ludicrous and would hit small business people.

“This is absolutely bonkers,” she added.

“The current economic climate already means difficult times for traders without the council making things even tougher.

“We want a level playing field. Large supermarkets are able to operate without this type of penalty and that should be the same for independent businesses.”

Wrexham Council was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, but council chiefs have said the move will generate an additional £180,000 for the council.