Angus Council faces an annual shortfall of more than £200,000 in parking charges, based on takings from the first week.
Official figures show the local authority took just £7,394 in machine tickets and “virtual” tickets bought online for a fixed period in the first seven days of the controversial charges returning.
So far 91 motorists have purchased 12-month permits at a total cost of £23,660 and 293 drivers have bought six-month permits costing £38,090.
If the current trend continues over a full year – with the half-year permit holders renewing and the volume of machine and virtual tickets bought continuing – the charges will bring in £484,307 over 12 months.
This would leave a £215,693 black hole against the £700,000 annual revenue hoped by Angus Council.
Photographs on social media show scenes of deserted car parks with reports of nearby streets in town centres clogged with cars.
Businesses are already feeling the pinch with a decline in footfall.
One well-established chocolatier who has run a successful café business is to shut up shop next month – with the introduction of charges one of the deciding factors.
Johanna Woodhead has run 88 Degrees in Kirriemuir town centre for the last 16 years and reported a 50% reduction in trade during the first week.
On Wednesday the normally packed eatery had no customers at all over lunch-time.
She she had never experienced “anything like this” in 16 years of running her business.
Ms Woodhead has joined a growing number of businesses calling for the local authority to look again at its charging policy, fearing more will be forced to close their doors.
She said: “We had no customers on Wednesday lunchtime which is unheard of.
“It was the worst day ever, taking in £10 between 11.45am and 2pm.
“Being in business is a tough gig, you have your ups and downs but this is whole different level.”
She is to close the business on December 23 due to family commitments, but added the introduction of parking charges also contributed to her decision.
Jill Scott, chairman of Brechin Community Council, slammed Angus Council for ignoring a request from the 9,066 who signed her petition asking for a period of free parking.
She said: “Angus Council’s consultation was inadequate, geared towards getting the answers they wanted to hear. A complete waste of time and money.
“Why did not one of the 28 elected Angus councillors not demand officers carry out full economic impact assessments of each town before agreeing the budget?
“This is fag packet politics; the damage to the county is woefully clear.”
Ms Scott begged Angus Council to make concessions, to work with and listen to local businesses and residents to find a solution.
“Angus Council need to put the needs of our town centres first and ensure we have healthy local economies as tumbleweed towns are becoming a reality,” she said.
“I’m not known for begging. On this occasion I not only plead but beg Angus councillors to open their eyes to our predicament.”