Plymouth City Council
Plymouth City Council logo
Tina Tuohy,
since 17 May 2024[1]
Tudor Evans,
since 19 May 2023
Tracey Lee
since October 2012[2]
Seats57 councillors
Plymouth City Council composition
Political groups
Administration (42)
  Labour (42)
Other parties (15)
  Conservative (7)
  Green (2)
  Independent (6)
First past the post
Last election
2 May 2024
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Council House, Armada Way, Plymouth, PL1 2AA

Plymouth City Council is the local authority for Plymouth, a unitary authority with city status in the ceremonial county of Devon, England.

The council is run using the leader and cabinet model, where the leader of the council (normally the leader of the majority party) is selected by fellow councillors. The leader then appoints the executive, also known as the cabinet.

Following the 2023 election, Labour has a majority of the seats, and the leader of the council is Tudor Evans.


Plymouth was an ancient borough, having been incorporated in 1439.[3] It was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836, governed by a corporate body officially called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Plymouth", but generally known as the corporation or town council.[4] When elected county councils were established in 1889, Plymouth was considered large enough to provide its own county-level services and so it was made a county borough, independent from Devon County Council.[5]

In 1914 Plymouth absorbed the neighbouring towns of Devonport and East Stonehouse.[6] The enlarged Plymouth was awarded city status on 18 October 1928, after which the corporation's formal title was the "mayor, aldermen and citizens of the city of Plymouth", also known as the city council.[7][8]

In 1974 Plymouth became a lower-tier non-metropolitan district under the Local Government Act 1972, with Devon County Council providing county-level services to the city for the first time. Plymouth's city status was re-conferred on the reformed district, allowing the council to take the name Plymouth City Council.[9][10] Plymouth regained its independence from the county council on 1 April 1998 when it was made a unitary authority following the recommendations of the Banham Commission.[11] The city remains part of the ceremonial county of Devon for the purposes of lieutenancy.[12]


As a unitary authority, Plymouth City Council has the responsibilities of both a district council and county council combined. There are no civil parishes in the city. Some functions are carried out in partnership with neighbouring authorities, notably with the city council appointing four members to the Devon and Somerset Combined Fire Authority.[13] The council is also responsible for arranging elections both for its own councillors and for three Parliamentary constituencies: Plymouth Moor View; Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport; and South West Devon.

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since the 2023 election.

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows:[14]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1991
Labour 1991–1998

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
Labour 1998–2000
Conservative 2000–2003
Labour 2003–2006
No overall control[15][16] 2006–2006
Labour 2006–2007
Conservative 2007–2012
Labour 2012–2015
No overall control 2015–2017
Conservative[17] 2017–2018
Labour 2018–2021
No overall control 2021–2022
Conservative 2022–2022
No overall control 2022–2023
Labour 2023–present


The role of Lord Mayor is largely ceremonial in Plymouth. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1974 have been:[18][19]

Councillor Party From To
George Creber[20] Conservative 1 Apr 1974 Jan 1987
Tom Savery[21] Conservative Jan 1987 1991
John Ingham Labour 1991 May 1998
Tudor Evans Labour May 1998 May 2000
Patrick Nicholson Conservative May 2000 2002
Kevin Wigens Conservative 2002 May 2003
Tudor Evans Labour May 2003 May 2007
Vivien Pengelly Conservative May 2007 18 May 2012
Tudor Evans Labour 18 May 2012 20 May 2016
Ian Bowyer Conservative 20 May 2016 18 May 2018
Tudor Evans Labour 18 May 2018 21 May 2021
Nick Kelly Conservative 21 May 2021 21 Mar 2022
Richard Bingley[22] Conservative 21 Mar 2022 27 Mar 2023
Tudor Evans Labour 19 May 2023


Following the 2024 election the composition of the council is:[23]

Party Councillors
Labour 42
Conservative 7
Independent 6
Green 2
Total 57

The six independent councillors sit as one group, with Cllr Patrick Nicholson as their leader. The next election is due 7 May 2026 where one third of the council's seats will be contested.


See also: Plymouth Civic Centre

Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ: Council's main offices since 2014.

The council meets at the Council House on Armada Way in the city centre, being the southern wing of the former Civic Centre, built in 1962, which was made a listed building in 2007.[24] The council's main offices are at Ballard House on West Hoe Road adjoining the docks in the Millbay area of the city, having moved there from the tower block wing of the Civic Centre in 2014.[25][26] The tower block wing of the Civic Centre was sold to developers Urban Splash in 2015[27] and later re-purchased to be redeveloped into a City College Plymouth campus in 2024.[28]


Main article: Plymouth City Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2003 the council has comprised 57 councillors representing 20 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council elected each time for a four-year term of office.[29]

Ward and councillors

The wards and current councillors (as at May 2024) are as follows:[30]

Ward Elected 2022 Elected 2023 Elected 2024
Budshead Lee Finn (Con) Kevin Sproston (Lab) Alison Simpson (Lab)
Compton Dylan Tippetts (Lab) Angela Penrose (Lab) Matt Smith (Lab)
Devonport Bill Stevens (Lab) Mark Coker[a] (Lab) Anne Freeman (Lab)
Drake Charlotte Holloway (Lab) Steve Ricketts (Free Ind.) No election
Efford and Lipson Neil Hendy (Lab) Pauline Murphy (Lab) Paul McNamara (Lab)
Eggbuckland Chip Tofan (Con) Tess Blight (Lab) Chris Wood (Con)
Ham Tina Tuohy (Lab) Tudor Evans[b] (Lab) Kate Taylor (Lab)
Honicknowle Zoë Reilly (Lab) Keith Moore (Lab) Ray Morton (Lab)
Moor View Maddi Bridgeman[c] (Ind) Lindsay Gilmour (Lab) Will Noble (Lab)
Peverell Jeremy Goslin (Lab) Sarah Allen (Lab) Jamie Bannerman (Lab)
Plympton Chaddlewood Ian Poyser (Green) No election Lauren McLay (Green)
Plympton Erle No election Terri Beer (Ind. Group) Andrea Loveridge (Ind)
Plympton St Mary Ian Darcy (Con) Patrick Nicholson (Ind. Group) Sally Nicholson (Ind)
Plymstock Dunstone Stefan Krizanac[d] (Lab) John Stephens (Lab) Maria Lawson (Lab)
Plymstock Radford Rebecca Smith (Con) Kathy Watkin (Con) Daniel Steel (Lab)
Southway Andy Lugger[e] (Con) Mark Lowry (Lab) Carol Ney (Lab)
St Budeaux Sally Haydon[a] (Lab) Jon Dingle (Lab) Josh McCarty (Lab)
St Peter and the Waterfront Alison Raynsford[d] (Lab) Chris Penberthy[a] (Lab) Lewis Allison (Lab)
Stoke Tom Briars-Delve[a] (Lab) Jemima Laing[a] (Lab) Sally Cresswell[a] (Lab)
Sutton and Mount Gould Mary Aspinall[a] (Lab) Sue Dann[a] (Lab) Chris Cuddihee (Lab)
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Cabinet member
  2. ^ Leader of the council
  3. ^ Originally elected as a Conservative
  4. ^ a b Elected in a July 2023 by-election
  5. ^ Leader of the opposition

Lord Mayoralty

See also: List of Lord Mayors of Plymouth

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 Council Chamber. The position usually rotates between the Conservatives and Labour, and is chosen on the third Friday of May. The Lord Mayor chooses the Deputy Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor's official residence is 3 Elliot Terrace, on 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 is available to hire for private events.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the City of Plymouth

The coat of arms of the City of Plymouth show the four towers of the old Plymouth Castle, with the saltire of Saint Andrew, who is the patron of Plymouth's oldest church. The crest is a blue naval crown with a red anchor held in a lion's paw. The crown and anchor were part of the crest of the former County Borough of Devonport and represent the importance of the Royal Navy in the life of the city.[31] The Latin motto, Turris Fortissima est Nomen Jehova, means "The name of Jehovah is the strongest tower".


  1. ^ Hughes, Lorna (20 May 2024). "Plymouth's new Lord Mayor says role will be her chance to say thank you to the city". Plymouth Live. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  2. ^ "Plymouth Growth Board". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  3. ^ Hawkyard, A. D. K. "Plymouth Borough". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  4. ^ Municipal Corporations Act 1835
  5. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41, retrieved 13 August 2023
  6. ^ "Three Towns Amalgamation". The Times. UK. 9 February 1914.
  7. ^ "The City of Plymouth". The Times. UK. 18 October 1928.
  8. ^ "City Council surprise: Alderman Moses and Molesworth ward by-election". The Western Morning News. Plymouth. 13 October 1928. p. 8. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  9. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 31 May 2023
  10. ^ "No. 46255". The London Gazette. 4 April 1974. p. 4400.
  11. ^ "The Devon (City of Plymouth and Borough of Torbay) (Structural Change) Order 1996",, The National Archives, SI 1996/1865, retrieved 11 August 2023
  12. ^ "Lieutenancies Act 1997",, The National Archives, 1997 c. 23, retrieved 11 August 2023
  13. ^ "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority".
  14. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Labour loses control in Plymouth". BBC News. 5 May 2006.
  16. ^ "Labour regains control of Plymouth city council". The Guardian. 23 June 2006.
  17. ^ All three of Plymouth's Ukip councillors have just quit the party and joined the Tories
  18. ^ "Council minutes". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  19. ^ Telford, William (4 May 2018). "Tudor Evans - the ups and downs of a political survivor". Plymouth Live. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  20. ^ Fleming, Guy (10 December 1986). "Savery beats Morrell to lead Tories". Western Evening Herald. Plymouth. p. 1. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  21. ^ Telford, William (14 September 2022). "Tributes paid to ex-council leader and lord mayor Tom Savery". Plymouth Live. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  22. ^ Telford, William (22 March 2023). "Plymouth's Tory council leader Richard Bingley resigns". Plymouth Live. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  23. ^ "Plymouth council results". BBC News. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  24. ^ Historic England. "Council House and former Civic Centre (Grade II) (1392038)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Ballard House (main council office)". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  26. ^ "Plymouth City Council to relocate hundreds of staff". Foodservice News. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  27. ^ "Plymouth civic centre building sold to developers". 10 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Plymouth City College to move into Civic Centre". BBC News. 18 March 2024. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  29. ^ "The City of Plymouth (Electoral Changes) Order 2002",, The National Archives, SI 2002/2236, retrieved 13 August 2023
  30. ^ "Your councillors by party". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  31. ^ "Coat of Arms". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 17 April 2016.