AN increase in parking fees at Huntingdonshire’s train station has resulted in an angry backlash, with one commuter describing the charges as “highway robbery”.

AN increase in parking fees at Huntingdonshire's train station has resulted in an angry backlash, with one commuter describing the charges as "highway robbery".

The weekday rate at the railway car park in Hawkesden Road, St Neots, increased by 25p over the bank holiday weekend, going from £6.50 to £6.75.

Dr Roger Palmer, who lives in Stonely and commutes from St Neots to London, wrote to The Hunts Post concerned that the charges would result in more commuters parking in neighbouring streets.

"The problem does not just impact on the commuter but also on nearby residents," said Dr Palmer. "Overpricing has already, quite literally, driven people away from the car park and it is now permanently half empty. Overspill into the streets is unwelcome but an understandable consequence of overinflated prices."

He added: "The daily ticket price far exceeds the hourly rate for the national minimum wage. The chargers of the increased fee do so surreptitiously over a bank holiday weekend. Could this be because they feel embarrassed by the highway robbery they are committing?"

In Huntingdon the daily charge increased from £6 to £6.20.

A spokesman for First Capital Connect (FCC) said the average increase in peak and season car park charges was approximately 2.5 per cent.

He said there were no changes to off peak fees and added that this is the first increase since February 2009.

The spokesman said that the increase was down to the VAT changes in January (when they returned to 17.5 per cent) which were now being passed onto customers. The price of annual tickets would not change.

St Neots town councillor, Julia Hayward slammed the increases for coming at a time when people are "having to be careful with their money".

She said: "I think it's extremely disappointing that St Neots is singled out to be the most expensive. Quite what we get that Huntingdon doesn't I can't say.

"I would say to anyone living in town, leaving the car at home and taking the bus will save you over £700 a year in parking. I've gone further and got myself a bike - the money that might have gone to First Capital Connect is funding an extra week at the seaside."

Fellow town councillor, Steve van de Kerkhove said: "FCC is ripping people off and the cost to park is far too high meaning commuters park in surrounding streets causing inconvenience to residents."