Plymouth City Council
since 19 May 2023
since October 2012
|First past the post|
|4 May 2023|
|2 May 2024|
|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. 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. 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.
In 1914 Plymouth absorbed the neighbouring towns of Devonport and East Stonehouse. 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.
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 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. The city remains part of the ceremonial county of Devon for the purposes of lieutenancy.
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. 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.
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:
|Party in control||Years|
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||2006–2006|
|No overall control||2015–2017|
|No overall control||2021–2022|
|No overall control||2022–2023|
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:
|George Creber||Conservative||1 Apr 1974||Jan 1987|
|Tom Savery||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||Conservative||21 Mar 2022||27 Mar 2023|
|Tudor Evans||Labour||19 May 2023|
Following the 2023 election and subsequent by-elections in July 2023, the composition of the council was:
Of the independent councillors, two form the "Independent Group", two form the "Free Independents" and the other two do not belong to a group. The next election is due in 2024.
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. 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. The tower block wing of the Civic Centre was sold to developers Urban Splash in 2015.
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.
The wards and current councillors (as at July 2023) are as follows:
|Ward||Elected 2021||Elected 2022||Elected 2023|
|Budshead||Mark Shayer (Con)||Lee Finn (Con)||Kevin Sproston (Lab)|
|Compton||Charlotte Carlyle (Con)||Dylan Tippetts (Lab)||Angela Penrose (Lab)|
|Devonport||Charlotte Cree (Lab)||Bill Stevens (Lab)||Mark Coker[a] (Lab)|
|Drake||No election||Charlotte Holloway (Lab)||Steve Ricketts (Free Ind.)|
|Efford and Lipson||Brian Vincent (Lab)||Neil Hendy (Lab)||Pauline Murphy (Lab)|
|Eggbuckland||James Stoneman (Con)||Chip Tofan (Con)||Tess Blight (Lab)|
|Ham||Stephen Hulme[b] (IND)||Tina Tuohy (Lab)||Tudor Evans[c] (Lab)|
|Honicknowle||Philip Partridge (Free Ind.)||Zoë Reilly (Lab)||Keith Moore (Lab)|
|Moor View||Will Noble[d] (Lab)||Maddi Bridgeman[b] (IND)||Lindsay Gilmour (Lab)|
|Peverell||John Mahony (Con)||Jeremy Goslin (Lab)||Sarah Allen (Lab)|
|Plympton Chaddlewood||Lauren McLay[d] (Green)||Ian Poyser (Green)||No election|
|Plympton Erle||Andrea Loveridge (Con)||No election||Terri Beer (Ind. Group)|
|Plympton St Mary||Natalie Harrison (Con)||Ian Darcy (Con)||Patrick Nicholson (Ind. Group)|
|Plymstock Dunstone||David Salmon (Con)||Stefan Krizanac[e] (Lab)||John Stephens (Lab)|
|Plymstock Radford||Bill Wakeham (Con)||Rebecca Smith (Con)||Kathy Watkin (Con)|
|Southway||Richard Bingley (Con)||Andy Lugger[f] (Con)||Mark Lowry[a] (Lab)|
|St Budeaux||Pat Patel (Con)||Sally Haydon[a] (Lab)||Jon Dingle (Lab)|
|St Peter and the Waterfront||Ian Tuffin (Lab)||Alison Raynsford[e] (Lab)||Chris Penberthy[a] (Lab)|
|Stoke||Sally Cresswell[a] (Lab)||Tom Briars-Delve[a] (Lab)||Jemima Laing[a] (Lab)|
|Sutton and Mount Gould||Eddie Rennie (Lab)||Mary Aspinall[a] (Lab)||Sue Dann[a] (Lab)|
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.
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. The Latin motto, Turris Fortissima est Nomen Jehova, means "The name of Jehovah is the strongest tower".