Agenda item

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 were three questions from members of the public:


The following question was received from Mr Richard Paltridge and answered by The Leader:

Question: When I was in business, I would catch the Plymouth flight to Heathrow on a monthly basis and I believe PCC underestimates the importance of business to our Ocean City. I would like to know if the council have any intention of progressing the opening of Plymouth Airport?

Answer: It was a huge disappointment when Sutton Harbour Group closed the Airport in 2011 - No one in the city wanted to see it close least of all me. As Leader of the labour administration, we did everything we could to support the creation of a new airline, Air South West, when Brymon Airways and BA left the Plymouth with no air connectivity. Had we not done so the airport would have closed at that point.


In 2011 when the Conservative administration accepted the closure notice from Sutton Harbour, I for one would have done more to keep the airport open, but we were in opposition at that time.


Since the Airport closed Sutton Harbour Group, who have a lease of the site, announced their intentions to develop the site for housing – something we have strongly resisted. The Council owns the freehold of the site but currently has limited control over the site because of Sutton Harbour's lease.


The current situation has been going on long enough and I have instructed officers to do everything possible to see if we can acquire that lease, which would give the Council control over what happens to the site. These negotiations are ongoing. If we are able to acquire the lease this would allow the Council to re-gain control of the site so that we can make our own decisions about its future. It should be the Council making these decisions on such an important site for the benefit of the public not private property developers.


I hope that we will be able to provide further updates on these discussions soon.

The following question was received from Mr Tim Forth and answered by The Leader:

Question: As part of the lease agreement with SHG, the airport was to be maintained at a functional level, although it clearly has not, what is the estimated cost to undo SHG's neglect of Plymouth City Airport?

Answer: The Airport lease places various obligations on SHG to maintain the infrastructure of the site as well as setting out how the Airport land is to be dealt with when the airport is not viable. I can take the opportunity now to reassure you that the Council will seeking to assert its full rights under the lease. 


We have recently commissioned a consultant to undertake an inspection of the site and they have advised us of the condition of the various buildings within the airport demise. However, the costs of improving the buildings and reinstating the equipment necessary to support aviation would vary significantly depending on the type of aviation proposed, general aviation or commercial flights.  


What is clear to this administration is that issue has gone on too long since Sutton Harbour closed the airport under the Conservative administration in 2011. 


It is the Council that should be determining the strategic future of this site and I have therefore instructed council officers to do everything in our powers to acquire the lease and get control of the airport.


It is only then that the future of the site can be properly considered. 

The following question was received from Hon. Alderman George Wheeler and answered by Councillor Mark Coker (Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport):

Question: Thank you for your reply to my question at the last Council meeting. Your reply said that construction of the transport improvements at St Budeaux is scheduled to commence from September 2023. Can you tell me when the work is scheduled to finish, with the shelters re-installed please?

Answer: Unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide the information that you have requested as we have not yet been able to finalise the programme’s completion. In order to finalise the programme we require detailed estimates and final design from the utility companies. These have not yet been received. Once the dates are finalised, installation of the replacement bus shelters will be programmed to tie in with the works. Thank you.