Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council House, Plymouth

Contact: Jamie Sheldon  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Cabinet Members will be asked to make any declarations of interest in respect of items on this agenda. 


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To sign and confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 14 August 2023.


The minutes of the meeting held on 14 August 2023 were agreed as a correct record.


Questions from the Public

To receive questions from the public in accordance with the Constitution.


Questions, of no longer than 50 words, can be submitted to the Democratic Support Unit, Plymouth City Council, Ballard House, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ, or email to Any questions must be received at least five clear working days before the date of the meeting.



There was one question from a member of the public:


The following question was received from Mr Stephen Dart and answered by The Leader:

Question: What checks and balances are in place to check that the £2.75 million Council funding agreed by the Cabinet in March 2023 for the Brickfields redevelopment is spent on capital projects and not as revenue . new players? 

Answer: Thank you to Mr Dart for his question. 


Before I answer the question I think it’s worth noting the progress that has already been made on this project over recent weeks. At the end of August Plymouth Argyle Community Trust took over the management of the site, ahead of the refurbishment works that they are due to complete on the existing sports centre over the coming months. And those works will just be the first step of a much wider £21m investment in the Brickfields site.  


That investment that will not only transform Brickfields, it will also transform opportunities for the Devonport community, for sport in the , of course, our professional sports clubs.  


This project is the result of an amazing and long term partnership between the Council, Plymouth Argyle, the Argyle Community Trust, Plymouth Albion, Devonport Community Leisure Ltd and existing users of the site. 


This deal is about massive investment in new facilities and making the most of the Brickfields site. It is clearly also a significant inward investment - Argyle who are themselves investing £18m across the club and the community trust. But for me this deal is about ambition for our communities, it is about better health outcomes for the people of and it is about better access to facilities for our . 


The question we’ve received from Mr Dart asks what checks and balances are in place to check that the £2.75 million Council funding agreed by the Cabinet in March 2023 for the Brickfields redevelopment is spent on capital projects and not as revenue . new players. I can confirm to Mr Dart that only around 20% of the funding approved will be paid as grant funding to Plymouth Argyle anyway and that all of this will support capital works such as new walkways through the site and improved public spaces. The Council will, of course, be monitoring these works and will employ an external surveyor to ensure that all grant funding claims are supported by evidence of works completed. 


I would also like to add that we are ensuring that the site is protected for sports and community uses in perpetuity. And we have placed the community at the forefront of the governance, underpinned by a set of community promises and an ongoing role for ward councillors and Devonport Community Leisure Ltd. 


I want to commend Councillor Mark Coker for his work in this space, who has represented his community, extraordinarily over the past few months.



Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.



The Leader invited Councillor Mary Aspinall (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care) to give an update on NHS Dentistry. She highlighted the following points:


a)    The problems of access to NHS dentistry in Plymouth were well-known, long-standing, and had been discussed on numerous occasions through Scrutiny meetings and at meetings of the Health and Wellbeing Board;

b)    All age groups and populations were at risk of poor oral health, even though it was largely preventable, but oral health problems were concentrated in vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups;

c)    The lack of free or affordable dental care had huge impacts on people such as;

                    1.        The pain driving people to try and remove their own teeth;

                    2.        Painful teeth leading to poor diets or soft food that often lacked nutritional value;

                    3.        Changes in appearance was stigmatising and often reduced people’s confidence and led to feelings of isolation;

                    4.        If a child was impacted, it could often have a life-long impact;

d)    Over 600 children per year had to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic in Plymouth – an operation that required medical resources, but was avoidable;

e)    Plymouth City Council had set up a cross-party, multi-agency Dental Task Force to urgently address the issue and they had engaged with NHS Devon, who had recently become the commissioners of NHS dental services, and asked them to take urgent action to address the dental health needs of Plymouth residents, especially for the over 20,000 people on the waiting list;

f)     The NHS had said that 50% of the population should be able to access NHS dentistry, but in Plymouth only 25% could, meaning that there were 68,000 people who should have been able to access NHS dentistry, but could not;

g)    £7-9 million of NHS funding that was set aside for dentistry in 2023/24 would not be spent in Plymouth based on NHS Devon’s plans;

h)    She then reiterated the ask that NHS Devon ICB urgently took action to address the dental health needs of all Plymouth residents, specifically in relation to the 21,729 on the waiting list (May 2023 data), whilst being aware there were tens of thousands more who were not on the waiting list and this could be done by:

                    1.        Ensuring that a significant amount of the annual ‘claw-back’ (of high street NHS dental underspend) was ring-fenced to be spent on NHS dental provision in Plymouth;

                    2.        Encouraging NHS Devon ICB to work with the Council’s Dental Task Force to use the annual ‘claw-back’ to support alternative and innovative solutions to provide more NHS dental capacity in the city through the development of flexible commissioning models.


The Leader added:


i)     The Cabinet had been shocked to learn how much funding had been unspent in Plymouth because they couldn’t find dentists to spend it with;

j)     It did not seem right that the Government wanted the funding back, rather than allowing the NHS to use it to encourage NHS dentistry providers into the city.


Councillor Mary Aspinall (Cabinet Member  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Leader's Announcements


The Leader made the following announcements:


a)      Brittany Ferries were expecting shore power in place within two years, which would mean that the diesel engines would not need to be run in port, but it would mean that the company would need to convert their ferries; 

b)    The Cabinet would be putting pressure on Government to with regards to the ‘social dumping’ that had been done by P&O, to discourage this behaviour and make it clear it was not welcome in British ports; 

c)    New investment by the Council had been made on Embankment Road to bring a new hotel to the city; 

d)    It was important to remember that whilst Plymouth was resilient it had been impacted significantly by the COVID19 pandemic, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and the crisis as well as the worsening of the Council’s own resources; 

e)    Plymouth had some of the most experienced people, nationally, in Local Government in its Cabinet and had good access to influence policy makers through working with the Local Government Association; 

f)     There were 5 priorities for the Cabinet which included: 

g)    Green Investment, Jobs and Skills – this included maximising any opportunities to come from the Celtic Array project; 

h)    Build more homes – Plymouth needed to attract workers to the city and provide them with somewhere to live; 

i)     Fewer potholes and cleaner, and greener, streets; 

j)     Better access to healthcare; 

k)    Tackle crime and anti-social behaviour; 

l)      Investment had been unlocked for Derriford Hospital improvements; 

m)  Factories would be built as part of the next phase of through a £6.5 million investment; 

n)    A Port Strategy was being developed for the first time with Brittany Ferries looking to encourage more freight and Harbour Trust were looking at ways they could expand their operations; 

o)    Investment had been made in Colin Campbell Court, and the temporary buildings would be on site shortly; 

p)    Brunel Plaza’s first phase had been completed, with more underway, with the University of Plymouth investing £40 million of the total £80 million in the site; 

q)    There was significant investment of £1.5-2 billion in the dockyards underway and talks were being had about how the city would benefit as a whole; 

r)    There had been significant national press coverage over the summer on events at The Box and the National Firework Championships. 



Cabinet Member Updates


Councillor Sue Dann (Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Sport, Leisure and HR & OD) provided the following updates: 


a)    Over the summer, free or holiday clubs had been offered to local children on a variety of subjects such as water sports, science, sports, dance and theatre, as well as a forest school; 

b)    10 new holiday club providers had been worked with and 8 special educational needs specific holiday clubs were run; 

c)    Full, fit and fed programs had been delivered, and over 4 park events, over 2,500 lunches were handed out; 

d)    The council had worked with Melanoma UK to provide free sun safety and protection to families; 

e)    The council had also worked with Fair Share to provide takeaway bags on Friday evenings to some older young people; 

f)     Budget friendly cooking workshops had been provided; 

g)    At events, cost of living leaflets were shared to signpost people who might need support; 

h)    Plymouth Active Leisure had had a cost of living summer program with free and low-cost taster sessions; 

i)     Over 420 people attended the Mount Wise pools for a family fun night, organised by Ward Councillors and Plymouth Active Leisure; 

j)     People could visit Cost of living | PLYMOUTH.GOV.UK for support with the cost of living. 


Councillor Jemima Laing (Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, Culture, Events and Communications) gave the following updates: 

k)    Bonfire Night 2023 would take place on The Hoe, which was a centrepiece of a free fun campaign, part of the Action Plan, to ensure there were activities that families could enjoy without worrying about additional costs; 

l)     It had been important to bring back Bonfire Night as it was an event that brought communities together to enjoy the evening, around 25,000 people in attendance. 

Councillor Sally Haydon (Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Libraries, Cemeteries and Crematoria) updated Cabinet on the following: 


m)  Freshers Week was approaching, and street marshals would be starting on 8 September 2023 to provide additional support to students, and would be linked up with the CCTV system to enable them to be deployed to the areas where they were most needed and would also be linked in with the Police, Street Pastors and the night bus, all funded through Safer Streets funding awarded to the University of Plymouth; 

n)    The first Time for Change conference had been held in Plymouth, which explored the role of masculinity for a better future; 

o)    There had been an increase of 23% in engagement with the summer reading challenge through Plymouth Libraries, library visits were up by 19% and Rhyme Time was up 49.64%. 


Councillor Tom Brairs-Delve (Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change) provided the following update: 

p)    The previously unused top deck of the Theatre Royal Car Park now housed a large solar array and was powering the car park, with surplus energy being exported back into the local grid, with the possibility of using this additional energy to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


National Marine Park Horizons Project


The Leader introduced the item and highlighted: 


a)    The National Lottery would receive the Round Two submission for the National Marine Park that week; 

b)    It was important to celebrate the landscape, but it was unusual in that most of it was under the water and hidden from view so it was important to reconnect the people of Plymouth with the ocean, and Plymouth could be used as a blueprint for future National Marine Parks; 

c)    It was important that projects of such significance in the city were cross-party to survive changes of political administration; 

d)    It was a £22 million project and the bid was asking the National Lottery for £11,6 million; 

e)    10,000 people had been listened to in the development of the project with partners across the city, and schools would be engaged with to embed an NMP champion into every school in the city; 

f)     A digital park would be created for those who would not be able to access the water, or who might not want to; 

g)    A number of neglected buildings would be brought back into use across the foreshore. 


Councillor Tom Brairs-Delve (Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change) added: 


h)    Thanked the team for their hard work on the submission and said it had been a pleasure working with them; 

i)     There would be a nature boost programme to restore mudflats, sea grass and estuaries to bring back seahorses, sand eels, rare birds and fish; 

j)     Community Grants would be available to science and nature projects. 


At this point in the meeting, the video at this link was played: National Marine Park funding bid to be submitted - YouTube 


In response to questions Elaine Hayes (Interim CEO, National Marine Park), Kat Deeney (Head of Environmental Planning), David Draffan (Service Director for Economic Development), Chris Burton (Manager, Mount Edgcumbe), Rhys Jones (Chief Operating Officer, Plymouth Active Leisure), Alex King (Centre Manager, Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre) and Nicola Bridge (Head of Ocean Advocacy and Engagement, Ocean Conservation Trust) explained: 

k)    The team were most excited about the investment in nature was going to be transformative, the way partners had worked together on the bid and would continue to as the project progressed, the positive impact on water safety and sea swimming and would encourage more people to engage with the water, how engagement with local children and schools would improve, how it aimed to remove barriers for all people in accessing the water, and improvements to the buildings on the foreshore and better engagement with heritage. 


The Leader then reiterated: 

l)     The importance of having the first National Marine Park in Plymouth, and the importance of the designation of the first National Park in 1951 and the work that had been done to preserve areas across the country; 

m)  His thanks to the team for their hard work is getting the bid ready for submission. 



Cost of Living Action Plan pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Sue Dann (Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Sport, Leisure and HR & OD) introduced the item and highlighted the following points: 


a)    It was not a standalone project, instead influencing the way the city tackled poverty moving forward, and the plan would transform into a long-term plan; 

b)    Cost of things such as food and energy bills had stalled, but were not decreasing, and government support was not the same as it was in the winter of 2022/23, and for most people, wages were virtually stagnant; 

c)    The cost of living crisis was causing people to enter financial crisis, who had never been in that situation before; 

d)    Gambling and gambling debt was increasing, and this would be added into aspects of the plan moving forward. 


Ruth Harrell (Director of Public Health) added: 


e)    The was developed with partners across the city, who would contine to be involved as the plan took a dynamic approach moving forward; 

f)     There were four main themes within the plan: 

g)    Offers and discounts available and promoted on the cost of living hub; 

h)    Making money go further; 

i)     Crisis support (financial support and mental health support); 

j)     Asks for Government; 

k)    The hub online had the plan itself as well as lots of helpful links to information and support, with support from partners across the city in helping other people access it if they can’t themselves, or haven’t heard of it; 

l)     As winter approached it was especially important to consider the dangers of cold homes and how to support people in keeping warm, as well as helping them with Christmas, a time that could fill people with dread due to the cost. 


Councillor Sally Cresswell (Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships) added: 


m)  Feedback at Plymstock school had been very positive,  


Councillor Sue Dann then added: 

n)    Leaflets had been distributed to all well-being hubs, libraries, 60 churches, the job centre, PEC advisors, schools and midwives as well as handed out at events; 

o)    In August, there had been over 2,000 hits on the cost of living hub, most on the ‘free things to do in Plymouth’ area and this would continue to be updated for October half term and the Christmas period; 

p)    Since it launched, it had had over 200,000 visits and over 7,000 engagements; 

q)    It was especially important to ensure that people did not feel stigmatised; 

r)    Work in October would be done with banks and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, to help people before they get into financial trouble; 

s)     Plymouth Charter involved over 330 businesses and had nearly 700 LinkedIn members and have agreed to look employers at whether they are paying their staff fairly and more to add to encouragement to get other people back into work; 

t)     Advice would be provided on how people could make their money go further at Christmas, for example buying some items at a charity shop; 

u)    The hub could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.


Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24 - 2027/28 pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:


In Councillor Mark Lowry’s absence, Councillor Chris Penberthy (Cabinet Member for Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities) introduced the item: 


a)    The document provided the strategic framework that linked the Council’s revenue budget, capital program, treasury management strategyand the capital strategy for the following 5 years; 

b)    The LGA, and would all recommend that each administration took such a plan to Council for approval, but the last one had been by the previous Labour administration in 2018; 

c)    The plan considered that the budget had already been set for 2023/24 and that the latter years were provided for illustrative purposes; 

d)    The strategy set out the financial principles and objectives, whilst working to deliver the priorities of the corporate plan; 

e)    The report showed a forecasted £11.2 million funding gap for 2024/25 that would need to be closed as part of the budget process, and over 5 years there was a £185 million gap; 

f)     Inflation, increase fuel costs and the cost of living crisis were impacting the council as well as additional pressures in adult social care, children’s social care and support for the homeless; 

g)    It was unknown what action Government would take to deliver reform to local government funding as there had been a change in the majority of funding no longer coming from Government, but instead from local taxation; 

h)    The budget included an additional £2.6 million to , as well as £1.5 of one-off allocations used to balance the 2023/24 budget which needed to be covered; 

i)     There was a need to find new ways to provide services, to work with partners wherever possible, to do things more efficiently, to make the most of the Council’s assets, focus and clarity on organisational purpose to reform the Children’s directorate; 

j)     The Place directorate would continue to prioritise growth to ensure the  

k)    The People directorate would continue to work on reducing demand for homelessness services through early intervention and prevention as well as improvements in access to health care and improvement of outcomes for those leaving hospital; 

l)     Transformation and Customer Support Services would continue to play a key role in supporting demand-led services, with finance, legal, procurement and HR all due to review their own operating models; 

m)  The plan containeda very clear ambition in the capital program to invest in and transform the city and thanked Councillor Lowry for his work on the plan. 


David Northey (Interim Section 151 Officer) added: 


n)    He had made a commitment to create a medium-term financial plan at Audit and Governance Committee, and it had been a recommendation from the last budget scrutiny meetings; 

o)    The figures and information would change as the years progressed. 


In response to it was explained: 

p)    The plan should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Unlocking Plymouth's Potential 2023 - 2025 pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Sally Cresswell (Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships) introduced the item and highlighted: 


a)    1 in 10 young people in Plymouth did not succeed in education and make a positive transition into adult life and the world of work and the plan had been developed in response to this; 

b)    It was the first strategic plan committed to reducing high levels of young people not in education, employment or training, as it could be detrimental to both mental and physical health and could lead to unemployment, low pay, low quality work and less feelings of success; 

c)    The plan recognised that the priority groups of youung people would require some additional support and that no single agency could address the challenges in and it would require a strong multi-agency approach at both a strategic and operational level to deliver early interventions and extensive support for those who needed it; 

d)    The plan had been circulated widely through the diverse membership of the employment and skills board; 

e)    The consultation process, along with wider stakeholder engagement, had shaped the priorities, and would continue to influence interventions moving forward. 


Tina Brinkworth (Head of Skills and Post 16) added: 


f)     The plan gave the opportunity to move to a more preventative model, whilst also support those young people who were currently not in employment, education or training; 

g)    Only 1 in 5 care leavers made it into employment so creating opportunities was key; 

h)    A pilot program working intensively with 4 young people with SEND had been successful with all four transitioning into employment, education or training. 


David Haley (Director of Children’s Services) added: 


i)     The strategy focused on supporting specific vulnerable groups of young people; 

j)     It looked at all the partnerships across the city the maximise support. 


In response to questions, it was explained: 


k)    DWP were involved with the work, along with approximately 80 other partners; 

l)     The Skills Launchpad acted as a triage to seamlessly get them to the right support for them; 

m)  SEND opportunities were being grown and more information shared with young people, their families and employers to raise wareness of additional funding available to better support these young people in apprenticeship roles; 

n)    The use of language was important and using ‘SEET’ (seeking education, employment or training) instead of ‘NEET’ (not in education, employment of training) when communicating with young people was very important. 


The Leader added: 


o)    It was important that the Council did more to provide supported placements and apprenticeships. 

That Cabinet agreed to approve the Unlocking Plymouth’s Potential strategic plan.