Armada Way Scheme

Further to our full statement on Tuesday (which you can read here inevitably we are being asked a few more questions about the Armada Way scheme so we thought we’d put all the answers in one place:

1. Could Labour alone have taken control of the council in January to stop the Conservatives going ahead with the felling?

The answer to this is a resounding no. It is a numerical impossibility until any group has 29 councillors, we currently have 25. However we do hope to take control of the council in May when one of our key missions is greening the city centre and increasing canopy cover across Plymouth

  2. Did Labour abstain on a motion from a former Conservative councillor which would have stopped the Armada Way scheme? 

No. There has never been an opportunity for all councillors to vote in favour or against the Armada Way scheme because, under the constitution, it is an executive decision – in this instance a Conservative cabinet member decision.

Labour’s position was that, while we agreed with some of the sentiment of Cllr Stephen Hulme’s motion brought to the January 2023 full council meeting, it would have removed engagement with the public including specific meetings with STRAW, the Plymouth Tree Partnership and PADAN. Five minutes before Cllr Hulme’s motion was debated we had used the levers available to us to secure that further consultation on the felling to make sure it included the public and those groups for whom no meaningful engagement on the scheme had happened. If we had backed Cllr Hulme’s motion it would also have given the green light to the Conservative cabinet to proceed with the scheme without the further consultation we had secured. The Green councillors also abstained.

3. What positive steps has Labour taken on the Armada Way scheme?

Plymouth City Centre falls within St Peter and the Waterfront ward. Labour’s three councillors there have been raising concerns about the Armada Way scheme and calling for public engagement since last Summer. We called for tree felling to be halted when it became clear that the Conservative administration was mismanaging the scheme. Earlier this year, Labour proposed an amendment to the administration’s response to the STRAW petition. This included the need for there to be a meaningful public engagement process which prioritised the natural environment and climate resilience. It passed and changed the direction of how the Council were handling the scheme but this week we have seen yet again that the Conservative cabinet is not willing to listen to the public. Labour councillors have also used scrutiny committees to call for constitutional review, particularly with regards to public engagement and petitions, to strengthen how the public are able to inform council decisions moving ahead. 

4. Which councillors voted in favour of the Armada Way scheme?

No Labour councillors have ever voted in favour of the Armada Way scheme. 

Under the Council’s constitution, some matters – such as the budget – are voted on at Full Council by every councillor whilst others (including public realm works) are led by relevant Cabinet members of the ruling administration.