Agenda item

Questions by Councillors

Questions to the Leader, Cabinet Members and Committee Chairs covering aspects for their areas of responsibility or concern by councillors in accordance with Part B, paragraph 12 of the constitution.









Cllr Angela Penrose

Cllr Mary Aspinall

Support for unpaid carers

Response: The previous week had been national carers week and what had been highlighted is that there were a large number of carers in Plymouth and she had wanted to make sure people knew they could go onto Plymouth City Council’s website to look at what support was available to them.


Cllr Natalie Harrison

Cllr Mark Coker

Bus Shelter Replacements Delayed

Response: The issue was occurring in other places across the city and Councillor Coker had asked for a full briefing on the issues and why replacements were taking so long and what could be done.


Supplementary: Could Councillor Harrison be updated and could temporary seating be installed.


Response: Refer to previous response.


Cllr John Mahony

Cllr Sue Dann

DELT Email Issues

Response: Not aware of the issue, but if any Councillors had any issues with emails they should contact DELT directly.


Supplementary: Could portfolio holder take it forward and report back?


Response: Issues could vary from Councillor to Councillor so it would be best to contact DELT direct, who could inform her as portfolio holder of any consistent issues.


Cllr James Stoneman

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Commitment to Chelson Solar Farm

Response: The project was important to Net Zero Action Plan and there were meetings due to take place imminently regarding the work.


Supplementary: Would he confirm to share information cross party as it was previously?


Response: Happy to arrange a cross party briefing for Shadow Portfolio Holders.


Cllr Patrick Nicholson

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Grass Cutting at Junctions in Plympton

Response: The administration had inherited a complicated arrangement for grass cutting from their predecessors, and the city had experienced bad weather during spring, making grass cutting difficult. In his first portfolio holder briefing, he had asked for grass cutting at junctions to be made a priority and had specifically mentioned Plympton due to issues raised to him from the area.


Supplementary: Could a schedule be shared with Councillors to help in responding to residents about grass cutting issues?


Response: There was an interactive map online. No specific dates would be given as ground conditions and weather could affect timings.


Cllr Bill Stevens

Cllr Mark Lowry

Increasing Interest Rates and Cost of Borrowing

Response: It was impacting borrowing costs and was continuing to increase.


Supplementary: How would this impact the Council?


Response: The Council’s Capital Program was predominantly based on the Council’s ability to borrow and so the program might have needed a review.


Cllr Mrs Terri Beer



Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Enforcement of Section 154 – Highways Act 1980 – Overhanging vegetation less than 8ft.

Response: If there were specific example, encourage Councillors to report issues to Councillor Casework for it to be raised with the relevant teams for review. If a case was not resolved to satisfaction, contact Councillor Briars-Delve with examples for further investigation.



Cllr Rebecca Smith



Cllr Tom Briars-Delve


Administrations opinion on residents who had resorted to cutting grass themselves across the city

Response: Aware and but some issues had been inherited by the previous administration.If areas in question were on a regular cutting schedules, teams would be visiting imminently to cut.


Supplementary: Play parks were on a 7-9 week schedule. Would Cabinet Member consider creating a separate schedule for play parks, as they needed to be cut regularly and low enough for children and in certain parts of the city parks and equipment could not be used because the grass was too high?


Response: The schedule had been implemented by the previous administrationand was being followed whilst practices were reviewed within the restraints of the grass cutting budget. The Cabinet Member was reviewing options for play parks and would give further information when it was available.



Cllr Bill Wakeham

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Grass cutting after wildflower planting


Response: The cutting schedule had been inherited from the previous administration. If there was an issue with a specific area, like this, recommended to send it to Councillor Casework. The Council manages a hundred of hectares of grassland across the city.


Supplementary: Example was given, would like explanation.


Response: Referred to previous answer.


Cllr Ian Tuffin

Cllr Tudor Evans OBE

Tidal Pool at Firestone Bay Rumours

Response: The administration wanted it to remain in use. The previous administration had not included any funding to carry out work to remove, or improve, it in 2023/24. It would be checked and kept safe over the summer season. A business case with maintenance options for the future would be prepared.


Supplementary: Would Ward Councillors be involved in next steps?


Response: Would be happy to keep Ward Councillors up to date and would make sure the tidal pool was not lost.


Cllr Charlotte Holloway

Cllr Mark Coker

Update on bus routes, specifically Route 31

Response: The Cabinet Department had spent a day with the Department of Transport discussing issues with busses in Plymouth, finding out more information on why the Council had been unsuccessful in the first round of Better Bus Funding, and looking at improvements for the second round. He was also going through the feasibility of the 31 Route, and others to ensure parts of the city are not cut off, supported by the Cabinet Member for Finance. Hoped to be able to give a further update in the following weeks.


Cllr Mrs Andrea Loveridge

Cllr Mark Coker

Bus Shelters

Response: There had been cross party working on the policy. Replacements would be installed where it had been agreed, and if there was a need to re-install bus shelters where they had been taken away, this would be looked into.


Supplementary: No further bus shelters would be taken away?


Response: All bus shelters went through a process and duplicate or low use shelters would be removed.


Cllr Tess Blight

Cllr Mark Lowry

Community Diagnostics Centre

Response: The new diagnostics centre in the west end of the City Centre would support local people in an area of deprivation, but would also support residents from across the city. He would be meeting with representatives from the health community to see what could be brought to the north of the city to support residents there.


Supplementary: Could Councillors be kept up to date and involved in plans?


Response: The Cabinet Member agreed to meet with Councillors to understand issues across the city and update them on progress.


Cllr Dr John Mahony

Cllr Sarah Allen

Councillor Complaints and Code of Conduct

Response: This would be looked into and an update would be provided.


Cllr David Salmon

Cllr Mark Coker

Bus Shelters

Response: The Cabinet Member would conduct a review of the situation with officers and provide an update to Councillors.


Cllr James Stoneman

Cllr Chris Penberthy

Unauthorised Encampments

Response: The Council policy was available on the Council website. He would ask for the link to be sent to all Councillors.


Supplementary: Would the Cabinet Member agree that once an unauthorised encampment had visited a site, the site would be secured to try and stop it happening again?


Response: There was no budget for this, further info in the policy on targeted hardening.


Cllr Charlotte Carlyle

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Reassurance Grass wouldn’t be allowed to get so high again in play parks

Response: With regards to Hartley Vale in particular, the issue had been raised directly to the Cabinet Member by Cllr Tippetts, and policy was not being correctly following in the area and due to an administrative error, the grass cutting had not been done, but it was completed within a week.


Supplementary: Had been reported to Councillor Casework twice, but happy it had been sorted. Hope it would not happen again and would be reviewed as there was no a substantial amount of wildflowers in the park.


Response: The ratio was determined by the previous administration and Community Grants could be used to plant more wildflowers.


Cllr Bill Wakeham

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

SUDS Project

Response: The Cabinet Member had had a briefing on the project with the relevant officers and had asked for the Peverell Ward Councillors to be kept updated because local residents might experience disruption.


Supplementary: Could Councillor Wakeham also be kept up to date?


Response: Yes.


Cllr Sarah Allen

Cllr Sally Cresswell

Teacher Recruitment Crisis

Response: Known that 1/3 of teachers were leaving profession within 5 years. Science and Maths recruitment issue nationally. Significant pressure on teachers in terms of demand and pay, made worse since COVID19. Something local authority needs to be mindful of due to the consequences. Support staff were also leaving due to better pay elsewhere.


Supplementary: More detail on how this is affecting Plymouth education and early years settings?


Response: No detail or data at present but needed to be looked at as it could help mitigate impacts and support recruitment and retention of staff.


Cllr Ian Darcy

Cllr Tom Briars-Delve

Play Parks – Grass and Bins

Response: Grass Cutting was following the previous administrations grass cutting schedule, whilst under review by the current administration.


Supplementary: Residents took rubbish from bins to Chelson Meadow from play parks as the bins had not been emptied. Could play parks be prioritised?


Response: The Cabinet Member had asked the Director of Street Services to prioritise play parks and if something had repeatedly been reported to casework, but was not being dealt with, to raise this to him to be looked into further.


Councillor Mrs Beer left the meeting at 7.08 pm.


Councillor Nicholson left the meeting at 7.24 pm.


Please note that questions, answers, supplementary questions and supplementary answers have been summarised.