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.







Councillor Corvid

The Leader

The Leader invited people to send in pictures of leaves on the pavements which would be dangerous and slippery. I have sent pictures in, but they have still not been picked up. Kingsley road, Central Park and Ford Park Avenue in particular had been reported. When are the leaves going to be removed to make it safe?

Response: Leaves would be picked up in line with normal casework. I had forwarded on your email to the councillor casework team and it was stated they could be swept as soon as possible.


Supplementary: There had been an increase in the area of people being injured, can the leader reassure that this would be addressed as a priority.


Leader: The Facebook post that I created asking for people to contact me was aimed at Compton ward residents, however the post went on to say, or contact Plymouth city council directly.


Councillor Patel

Councillor Drean

I am pleased to report that flood sites within my ward have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved.  Some sites have been flooded for many years and people are frustrated with the lack of long term positive action.


I myself have reported one site within my ward three times in a month and was told three times it had been fixed, only for it to flood next time it rained.


Can I ask for a process to be put in place for a robust monitoring plan so that areas consistently reported are looked at in greater detail?

Response: Councillor Drean requested further details of that particular casework in order to look more in depth at what actions took place. Please provide further detail. Hotspots are regularly checked to see if it is going to be a problem. Councillor Drean will check to see if that particular spot is on the hotspot list.


Councillor Murphy

Councillor Deacon

Once again, I have to question the lack of respect this administration has shown to our armed forces community. At the last full Council meeting I asked why the Belvedere Memorial Garden was used as a bar. Why have no poppies been put in place across the city to remember our fallen armed forces servicemen and women? This year would mark the 100th anniversary of Royal British Legion and the 80 anniversary of the Plymouth Blitz.

Response: Councillor Deacon requested Councillor Murphy to send an email and the points raised would be looked into.


Councillor Derrick

The Leader

Councillor Rodger Croad had made some highly insensitive comments in his role as Chair of The Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel. Councillor Croad made an ill judged comment on the use of firearms in the city. Many people are suffering from this tragedy and I ask if you would stand with the people of Plymouth and call out those remarks as senseless and harmful. I also ask that our representatives on the Panel pass our comments on those remarks to the Chair. 


Response: I was made aware of the remarks from Councillor Croad. Councillor Croad is not a part of Plymouth City Council but the remarks he made were made at the Police and Crime Panel which he chairs in Plymouth.


Councillor Croad has apologised for his comments and MP Luke Pollard has written to Councillor Croad to issue a further apology and requested him to visit Keyham.


Councillor Croad’s comments were inappropriate and I’m sure Councillor Croad reflected on them and is not proud of them. I suggest to Councillor Derrick that he writes to Councillor Croad to express his dissatisfaction of those comments.  


Councillor Singh

Councillor Riley

Is there, or would there be a situation where the Council would make a Key or Delegated Decision without it being recorded or published on the website or in writing.

Response: Councillor Dr Mahony advised that he would hope not and that Decisions should be publicised.


Supplementary: Why was the Key Delegated Decision taken by Councillor Lowry in June 2020 not recorded or published on the website of Plymouth City Council?


Response: Councillor Dr Mahoney advised that he would look into this and get back to Councillor Singh as to why it wasn’t published.   


Councillor McDonald

Councillor Drean

There has been a problem with lampposts in the St Peter and Waterfront, Efford and Devonport wards in that they are not lit at night. There is the issue of women walking alone at night and people with sensory deficits. I have learned from Councillors Casework that there have been difficulties in receiving parts from Lisbon and China.

Response: Councillor Drean advised that out of 30,000 lamp columns across the city, around 190 are out of service. Spares have been an issue but an added problem as been that some of the newer columns purchased have had a fault, these have been returned under guarantee.


Plymouth City Council has been looking for spares in the UK and this is where supply problems have been brought to light. Where spares have been provided from the industry we have been looking to get things back online.


The team have prioritised a safety list to get those areas lit as a matter of urgency for the safety of residents.


Supplementary:  Councillor McDonald requested that wards which have low car ownership be prioritised as well.


Response: Councillor Drean advised that this would be prioritised and if the casework team are not aware, was happy to have a discussion with Councillor McDonald to receive the details of the problem areas within her ward.


Councillor Collins

Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman

Councillor Collins passed on appreciation to the Street Services team and thought that the recent video in which it showed the Street Services team having fun, showing residents what they do as part of their role was good.

Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman advised that Councillor Collins comments would be passed onto the Street Services team.



Councillor Haydon

Councillor Deacon

Councillor Haydon requested the average waiting times for November 2020 and November 2021 for the contact centre. 

Councillor Deacon advised that the average waiting times for November 2020 were on average 10 minutes. November 2021 data had not been fully assessed.


Supplementary: Councillor Haydon advised Councillor Deacon that the average waiting time had been 2 minutes 13 seconds and for November 2021 the average waiting time had been 2 minutes 24 seconds.

Councillor Haydon advised Councillor Deacon that whilst helping a resident of her ward in St Budeaux Library, had waited 58 minutes on 15th November 2021, is this acceptable?


Councillor Deacon advised that this was not acceptable and stated that the previous administration cut the customer services department as well as the library service. 



Councillor Pat Patel

Councillor Deacon

Libraries play an important part of the lives of many residents. During lockdown the suspension of the service had been hard felt by all and since the ending of restrictions I expected a short delay of things to return to normal. Can you advise me of when our library service will return in full?

Since we have reached step four of the government roadmap, the library service have targeted resources to maximise the number of days and hours that library services are open. Libraries will open at the maximum that resources allow us to do. At present the service is able to open between five and seven libraries every day Monday to Friday, with six open on Saturdays. The previous administration, through their redundancy scheme allowed our library staffing levels to fall to such a level that the current administration cannot open the libraries fully.


Supplementary: When can we expect the libraries to open at full service?


Response: As soon as we can possibly do so, but we are struggling with Labours policy of reducing funding for the Customer and library services.   


Councillor Murphy

Councillor Drean

Can you tell me what the policy is for re-lining disabled parking bays?

Response: Councillor Drean advised that when the team are notified, the team will out and do it.


Supplementary: Councillor Murphy advised that she had received an email from the department stating that Plymouth City Council do not re-line disabled parking bays and this is up to the grantee.


Response:  Councillor Drean requested the details to be forwarded to him and he will investigate and will get back to Councillor Murphy. 


Councillor Coker

Councillor Drean

One of the fundamentals to the public bus service is the real time information, do you have a percentage of buses running on time? During the Labour administration this was 91%.

 Response: Councillor Drean advised that he does not have the figure at present as there had been a problem with the system. There had also been a lot of people that have advised that a bus has not arrived when it has been on the schedule board. 


The team believe they have found where the issues are and are being addressed at the moment. Councillor Drean will provide Councillor Coker with the details he has requested when they are available.


Supplementary: Councillor Coker had repeatedly reported issues with this problem. Councillor Coker advised that we have control over what is going on in real time, do we have any plans to utilise this for the benefit of the travelling public as we did through COVID.


Response: Councillor Drean advised that arrangements had been arranged with Plymouth Citybus with work still on-going. 


Councillor Singh

Councillor Mrs Vivien Pengelly

I had been given the role by the Leader for the Equalities Working Group. Would Councillor Mrs Pengelly agree that more work has been done in the last few meetings to bring the diverse populations of Plymouth together, including all the initiatives put forward by myself as the Chair in making Plymouth a ‘warm and welcoming’ City for everybody to enjoy?   

Response: Councillor Mrs Pengelly has done a tremendous amount of work since we had started. The Group started off with Plymouth Argyles Policy on Equality and Diversity and they had spent two years working on the policy. It has been encouraged that all sports clubs within Plymouth have the same sort of policy. A sports conference has been organised for February, all sports clubs within Plymouth had been invited to attend a whole day event.


Supplementary: Given the upcoming local election in May, will this equality working group be a priority for the Council and the administration?


Response: I will promote that there is a lot of good work going on in these working parties and I appreciate all members that sit on these parties as we all work extremely hard.



Councillor Tuffin

Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman

Would you reconsider the cost of bulky waste items in view of government’s reduction of COVID uplift and people losing £20 a week. Would there be a concession for people on benefits?

Plymouth City Council have recently changed the policy and there are special dispensations for certain people on certain benefits. Councillor Mrs Bridgeman would look into the dispensation and provide a response to Councillor Tuffin.



Councillor Collins

Councillor Mrs Bridgeman

Misinformation has been spread that certain chemicals are being used on all types of weeds. Can you clarify that?

Plymouth City Council does not spray randomly and we are trialling a new foam. Plymouth City Council does have a legal requirement to remove Japanese Knotweed and at present glyphosate-based herbicides is the only chemical able to get rid of this after several sprays.


Councillor Haydon

Councillor Deacon

Can you tell me how many members of staff were employed in the Contact Centre in November 2020 and how many are now employed under the Conservative administration? 

Response: Councillor Deacon advised that he does not have the figures but that Labour had cut the budget and made some staff redundant.


Supplement: In November 2020 we had 21 members of staff in the Contact Centre and under a Conservative controlled administration this had lowered to 18. Would you agree with me Councillor Deacon, that it is the Conservative administration that is cutting the service and not the Labour administration?


Response: Councillor Deacon advised that we are working under a Labour budget and this is why customer service waiting times are going up.


Councillor Mrs Mary Aspinall

Councillor Riley

How many private hire and Hackney Carriage licenses have been handed back?

Response: In 2019 there were 1200 cabs in the city with around 360 Hackney Carriages. At present there are around 909 in total with 309 being Hackney carriages and the rest private hire. Councillor Riley would need to look into more detail with regards to the figures of licenses held and those actually on the road. 


Supplementary: What is Plymouth City Council doing to increase those numbers again considering the night time economy and public safety. Can you clarify if we are reducing the number of people that can go through to sit their relevant exams to become a taxi driver because of COVID lessons?


Response: Councillor Riley acknowledged the supplementary and expressed concern in relation to the night-time economy and this has been impacted due to a shortage of taxi’s.


This Council has progressed the Taxi Licensing policy which seeks to remove the cap on licenses and introducing a livery system to install pride . It was also recognised that the taxi shortage is a national situation.


Councillor Stoneman

Councillor Deacon

Following the one stop closure to residents during COVID, when will this service be open again for residents to use?

Response: Plymouth City Council would be trialling the service reopening at central library over a period of 8 weeks from December to January.


End time – 20.14pm


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