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Plymouth City Council

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Plymouth City Council

Plymouth City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Leader of the Council
Tudor Evans
Chief Executive
Tracey Lee
Seats 57
Political groups
First past the post
Last election
3 May 2012
Meeting place
The Council House, Plymouth

Plymouth City Council is the unitary authority for Plymouth, Devon. It has traditionally been controlled by Labour and the Conservatives, with Liberal Democrats rarely winning seats upon the council. It meets in Plymouth Guildhall in Plymouth City Centre.

The council is run by the "leader and cabinet" model, where the Leader of the Council - normally leader of the majority party - is selected by fellow councillors, who in turn selects the executive, commonly referred to as the Cabinet. The current Leader of the Council is Tudor Evans since May 2012, of the Labour Party and the Opposition group leader is Vivien Pengelly of the Conservative Party.


In 1889, with the reform of local government, Plymouth became a self-administering county borough. In 1971, the Local Government White Paper which would have left Plymouth, a town of 250,000 people, being administered from a council based at the smaller Exeter, on the other side of the county. This led to Plymouth lobbying for the creation of a Tamarside county, to include Plymouth, Torpoint, Saltash, and the rural hinterland. This campaign was unsuccessful, and on April 1, 1974, Plymouth surrendered control of several areas to Devon County Council.

This continued until April 1, 1998, when, under the recommendations of the Banham Commission, Plymouth was designated a unitary authority and Plymouth City Council was established.

Data protection

In 2012 Plymouth County Council was fined £60,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after it sent "confidential and highly sensitive personal data relating to two parents and their four children including allegations of child neglect" to the wrong recipient.[1] Commenting on Plymouth and other authorities who had made similar data protection breaches, the ICO said "It would be far too easy to consider these breaches as simple human error. The reality is that they are caused by councils treating sensitive personal data in the same routine way they would deal with more general correspondence. Far too often in these cases, the councils do not appear to have acknowledged that the data they are handling is about real people, and often the more vulnerable members of society."[1]

Powers and functions

Plymouth City Council appoints four members to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority.[2]


Elections to Plymouth City Council happen once every year in May, with one "exception" year every four years, with the result that councillors serve terms of four years. This is because the council is split into thirds, with one third elected each year except the "exception" year.

The council is traditionally dominated by the Labour and Conservative Parties, with independents and the Liberal Democrats rarely winning seats. In 2011, the United Kingdom Independence Party gained its first council seat in Plymouth, when Southway councillor Peter Berrow defected from the Conservatives to UKIP. He was, however, defeated in the subsequent election in May 2012.

At present, Labour has 31 councillors, the Conservatives have 25 and there is one independent councillor.

Lord Mayoralty

Plymouth has had a mayor in some form since 1439, and this tradition continued until 1934, when the king granted Plymouth the honour of having a Lord Mayor.

The role of the Lord Mayor is largely ceremonial, and has evolved into a figurehead position which is the public, non-political image of Plymouth City Council. The Lord Mayor chairs council meetings in the Guildhall. The position usually rotates between the Conservatives and Labour, and is chosen on the third Friday of May. He then chooses the Deputy Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor's official residence is 3 Elliot Terrace, located on the Hoe. Once a home of Waldorf and Nancy Astor, it was given by Lady Astor to the City of Plymouth as an official residence for future Lord Mayors and is also used today for civic hospitality, as lodgings for visiting dignitaries and High Court judges and it is also available to hire for private events. The Civic Centre municipal office building in Armada Way became a listed building in June 2007 because of its quality and period features, but has become the centre of a controversy as the council planned for its demolition estimating that it could cost £40m to refurbish it, resulting in possible job losses.


As of 3 May 2012, the councillors for Plymouth are as follows:

Ward Councillor (2010) Councillor (2011) Councillor (2012)
Budshead Grant Monahan (Con) Jonathan Drean (Con) Jon Taylor (Lab)
Compton Ted Fry (Con) David Stark (Con) Richard Ball (Con)
Devonport Bill Stevens (Lab) Mark Coker (Lab)* Kate Taylor (Lab)
Drake Steven Ricketts (Con) Chaz Singh (Lab) N/A
Efford and Lipson David Haydon (Lab) Pauline Murphy (Lab) Brian Vincent (Lab)*
Eggbuckland Ian Bowyer (Con) Lynda Bowyer (Con) Paul Jarvis (Lab)
Ham Ian Gordon (Lab) Tudor Evans (Lab)** Tina Tuohy (Lab)
Honicknowle Nicky Williams (Lab)* Mark Lowry (Lab)* Peter Smith (Lab)*
Moor View Mike Wright (Lab)Lord Mayor Alison Casey (Lab) Mike Fox (Lab)
Peverell Martin Leaves (Con) Dr. John Mahoney (Con) Patricia Nicholson (Con)
Plympton Chaddlewood Glenn Jordan (Con) N/A Dr. David Salter (Con)
Plympton Erle N/A Terri Beer (Con) Ian Darcy (Con)
Plympton St. Mary David James (Con) Patrick Nicholson (Con) Sam Leaves (Con)
Plymstock Dunstone Vivien Pengelly (Con)*** Nigel Churchill (Con) Kevin Wigens (Con)
Plymstock Radford Wendy Foster (Con) Ken Foster (Con) Michael Leaves (Con)
Southway Tom Browne (Con) John Smith (Lab) Lorraine Parker (Lab)
St. Budeaux Sally Bowie (Lab) George Wheeler (Lab) Danny Damarell (Lab)
St. Peter and the Waterfront Susan McDonald (Lab)* Chris Penberthy (Lab)* Ian Tuffin (Lab)
Stoke Jill Dolan (Ind) Philippa Davey (Lab) Sam Davey (Lab)
Sutton and Mount Gould Mary Aspinall (Lab) Jean Nelder (Lab) Eddie Rennie (Lab)

* Denotes Cabinet member ** Denotes Leader of the Council *** Denotes Leader of the Opposition

The councillors denoted as being elected in 2010 will next be for election in May 2014.


  1. ^ a b "ICO hits the road to crack 'underlying problem' at data-leak councils". The Register. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority". 
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