Agenda item


(a)        To receive announcements from the Lord Mayor, Chief Executive, Service Director for Finance or Head of Legal Services;


(b)        To receive announcements from the Leader, Cabinet Members or Committee Chairs.


Councillor Tudor Evans OBE (The Leader of the Council) made the following announcements:


a)    There was a need to reflect that a year ago today, the then Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced their policies of which the repercussions were still being felt today. This had resulted in the lowest Government Bond Yields in decades, with many Plymouthians left struggling with soaring rents and mortgages. There was yet to be an apology from the Prime Minister, and the Labour Party were calling for her Resignation Honours List to not be proceeded with, as was within the current Prime Minister’s powers;


b)    On Friday, the Leader and Councillor Lugger had submitted Plymouth City Council’s round 2 submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the National Marine Park;


c)    The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park was an exciting project, and would become the UK’s 16th National Park, and the first National Marine Park anywhere in the UK. This was a significant moment for a maritime nation, equivalent to the creation of the first national park in the Peak District in 1952;


d)    The project was a £22m project, of which Plymouth City Council were asking the Lottery for £11.6m;


e)    Consultation had been undertaken with 10,000 people to develop the project, and an amazing partnership had been developed;


f)     The project was about celebrating Plymouth’s Heritage, and would focus on restoring neglected buildings across the foreshore at Mountbatten, Tinside and Mount Edgcumbe;


g)    The project would see the opening of 2 Napoleonic forts on a daily basis first for the first time;


h)    The project would work intensively with 30 schools, with a National Marine Park champion appointed in every school in the City;


i)     There would be a Nature Boost programme restoring mudflats, sea grass and estuaries to bring back wrays, seahorses, rare birds, fish, and a range of endangered species;


j)     The largest ever engagement programme would be initiated, reaching into Plymouth’s northern estates. This would enable people to get in on or under the water, as well as engage through the creation a digital park;


k)    People would be encouraged to explore jobs in the new Blue/Green economy, and the Council would work with partners to become Net Zero, as demonstrated through the recent announcement at Millbay;


l)     There was a ten year funded plan to ensure that the park was sustainable, and had proper governance;


m)  Funding had been ring-fenced, and the current project stage aimed to set out the detailed plans. All of the necessary permissions had been attained, and the match funding had been secured. Subject to the Lottery approving the plan, the next phase would begin in January, helping to place Plymouth on the map.


A video was played at this point demonstrating the National Marine Park Bid.


n)    The Leader thanked David Draffan (Service Director of Economic Development) for his leadership of the programme, as well as Elaine Hayes (CEO National Marine Park) Sharon Mercer (Head of Strategic Programmes), Kat Deeney (Head of Environmental Planning), Councillor Patel, Councillor Briars-Delve, and Councillor Dann for all of their hard work.


Councillor Goslin joined the meeting at this time.


Councillor Sarah Allen (Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee) made the following announcement:


o)    City Council had delegated to the Audit and Governance Oversight and Scrutiny Committee, oversight and approval of the design and implementation of the Electoral Cycle Review and Consultation. Before finalising the approach, and having taken into account the advice of officers at the July meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee, its was proposed that the consultation was brought back to committee, following discussions with Southampton Council who had recently undertaken a electoral review, and a review of their electoral cycle. This had approved unanimously by the Audit and Governance Committee, and further proposals would be heard at future meetings, with a subsequent report submitted to City Council to provide an update;


Councillor Sue Dann (Cabinet Member Customer Services, Sport, Leisure and HR & OD) made the following announcements:


p)    On 23 August, the Council had launched the Cost of Living Action Plan, which Labour had pledged to implement within their first 100 days of taking administration;


q)    The pan was City-wide, and workshops had been held with 70 different organisations. It had been remarkable how the City had pulled together to offer support to those in crisis;


r)     In August alone, 2,000 people had accessed the Cost of Living Hub, and there had been over 200,000 engagements during summer;


s)     It was requested that all Councillors share information regarding the Cost of Living Action Plan within there spheres to ensure maximum coverage;


t)     The Brickfields project was ongoing, and significant work had been undertaken over past few months. In September, an agreement had been signed committing the Council to contributing £2.75 MM, Plymouth Argyle Football Club contributing £11 MM, and Plymouth Argyle Community Trust contributing £7.25 MM. A Community Use Agreement was in place for the site, which would help transform one of the most deprived wards in the city, as well as raising the profile of sports, access and the Health and Wellbeing Hub;


u)    An open day would be held at the site on 26 September 2023, and all Councillors were encouraged to attend to experience the plans for one of the City’s greatest sports assets, which would have a meaningful impact on citizens across Plymouth.


Councillor Tom Briars-Delve (Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change) made the following announcements:


v)    Alongside longstanding funding pressures, grass cutting had faced additional challenges this year. Extreme weather conditions, exacerbated by the realities of climate change, had caused high vegetation growth. There had also been a need to address the risks to staff working near highways, with additional staff training provided, as well as the rethinking of the approach to several high risk areas, ensuring appropriate and safe traffic management. Additional Bank Holidays had also impacted front line capacity;


w)   Despite these challenges, the team had been working hard to improve the system inherited from the previous administration. This had included additional work opportunities for staff, a dedicated cemeteries team to improve standards, trialling regular cuts in play parks following feedback from residents, and investment in specialist equipment better suited to longer vegetation;


x)    Further improvements were being explored to improve the grass-cutting season for next year, and the administration wanted Councillors across all wards and parties to be at the heart of these improvements. Officers had been asked to organise an end of season consultation on grass cutting for councillors;


y)    A challenge was presented to all councillors to identify areas within their ward that were possibly better suited as wildflower meadows, when requesting areas within their ward to be added to the regular cutting programme. This was to ensure Plymouth retains its ambition of a 60-40 principle for biodiversity;


z)    Despite challenges faced by all authorities on this topic, Plymouth had received national recognition for its 60-40 approach. Last week, Plymouth City Council had been a finalist for 3 environmental awards, and had won an award for best Parks and Grounds Maintenance Service. Tributes were paid to the Grounds team for their hard work, as well as Councillor Sue Dann for her courage in this area;


aa)  Plymouth had also recently featured in the UK 100 Power in Place Nature Report, for its innovative concepts around financing biodiversity improvements such as a habitat banking vehicle, as well as the passing of the Motion on Marine Recovery and Citizenship. It was rewarding to see Plymouth Council gaining praise and national recognition for its efforts;


bb)There were also many projects ongoing regarding Renewable Energy. Meeting its pledge made before the election, Labour had introduced rooftop solar panels in the city centre, with the top floor of the Theatre Royal Carpark now fitted with a solar array, which generated electricity to power the carpark, as well as supporting the decarbonisation of the site;


cc)  The successful Green Minds Partnership project had come to an end, with many positive legacies visible including the establishment of Green Community Hubs, employing Council and National Trust Rangers, as well as Natural Infrastructure Officers to work closely on green spaces, alongside community partners.


Councillor Sally Cresswell (Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships) made the following announcements:


dd)The School’s Attendance Campaign had started at the end of August, in partnership with schools to help support parents and carers; officer were working with children with serious attendance issues, while schools were focused on students with attendance less than 90%;

                      i.        ITV West Country had taken up the issue and ran an in depth item on Friday 8 September 2023 on issue of attendance, filmed at Plymstock School, and she thanked the school and students involved;

                     ii.        There would be a second phase to this campaign, but urged everyone to share content on good school attendance in a positive and supportive manner;

ee)Plymouth City Council had been proactive in communicating with school leaders regarding RAAC concrete and since 2018 surveys had been carried out on 14 local authority maintained schools, none of which were found to contain RAAC, Multi Academy Trusts were responsible for their own buildings and would have been contacted by the Department for Education on this issue, but Plymouth City Council had not been informed of any affected by the issue, but had reached out to Chief Executives and head teachers to confirm checks had taken place;

ff)    In 2010, the coalition government cut Building Schools for the Future, something Michael Gove had since admitted was a mistake, and Plymouth had been promised £70 million under this plan, but no money was ever received, and elsewhere in the country where the money was used to turn other disused buildings into schools, some had been reported as having RAAC.


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


gg)  Last week, she had updated the Growth and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the impact of culture in the City over the past 12 months and the reaction from the committee was positive;

hh)As Elected members they had proactively all made the space for culture and cultural investment when many councils had cut this area. In Plymouth, it had always been seen as an investment in the city and its people and it was important to closely monitor the impact and where appropriate to celebrate success;

ii)    Gave an update on The Box:

                      i.        Had welcomed over 600,000 visitors to date;#

                     ii.        In 2022/23 it had had 246,000 visitors, compared to an annual visitor number of 80,000 to the old museum;

                    iii.        Over the school summer holidays 52,000 visitors had been welcomed and The Box had experienced its busiest day ever;

                    iv.        Over 10,000 people had been involved in the family programme with 6,500 formal learning participants;

                     v.        Since opening The Box had hosted over 22,000 school visits;

                    vi.        £2.25m had been raised across earned income and fundraising;

                  vii.        The Box had generated £5m advertising value on press coverage over the past 12 months;

                 viii.        Autumn shows included works by Sir John Akomfrah, Kedisha Coakley along with Dutch Flowers from the National Gallery;

jj)    Touching on the wider cultural sector many organisations were still recovering from the effects of the COVID19 pandemic and adjusting to new audience behaviours but it had still been an impressive year for cultural impact:

                      i.        A combined cultural audience across all venues, projects and events of 850,000;

                     ii.        Activity across 132 cultural venues with 50% of events being free to attend;

                    iii.        There were 365 cultural enterprises in the City with a cultural economic output rise from £98m in 2020 to £150m in 2022/23;

                    iv.        The cultural sector directory employs 3350 jobs and created 2000 new opportunities last year;

                     v.        Over £12m NPO funding had been secured for Plymouth’s largest organisations from the Arts Council;

                    vi.        £1.5m grant project funding had been secured from 28 different sources;

kk)Bonfire Night would return to the Hoe for 2023 as the centrepiece of a free fun campaign, which would be a major part of the Cost of Living Action Plan because one of the first things that families had to give up during a financial squeeze was little extras that made live worth living as many families were having to make the choice between eating and heating. Bonfire night engaged with communities and had an attendance of 25,000 people and had been made possible by generous sponsorship from the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and the success of the Plymouth City Council Events team exceeding their income targets.


Councillor Chris Penberthy (Cabinet Member for Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities) made the following announcements:


ll)    Two of the stalled sites for the Plan for Homes were back on track, having been delayed by Brexit, the COVID19 pandemic and the economic turmoil or 2022;

                      i.        He thanked partners in Westward Housing and Classic Builders;

                     ii.        Moses Close would be a mix of 1 bedroom flats, family homes and a bungalow available for social rent;

                    iii.        St Peters Close in Plympton had 5 bungalow developments, including one that would be fully accessible to meet housing needs of people on waiting lists;

mm)  Broadland Gardens was in its final construction stage and Lang Town & Country had been appointed as the and for the site, which was available for viewing with  10 eco-friendly homes, the first direct delivery of homes from Plymouth City Council in 40 years.


Councillor Zoe Reilly (VAWG Representative) made the following announcements:


nn)In light of news relating to Russel Brand, and the concerns raised by residents, Plymouth City Council had made huge efforts to make the city a beacon for tackling violence against women and girls and had obtained a Purple flag accreditation extension, and was working towards a VAWG charter;

oo)The Council had employed a strategic lead for Violence Against Women and Girls that worked tirelessly;

pp)The first MAN culture conference had been held successfully on 6 September 2023;

qq)She called on Plymouth Pavilions to reflect on whether Russell Brand’s planned show there should take place in light of the news.