Derby councillors engaged in heated debate at a full meeting of the authority on Wednesday evening.

Emotions were running high for an agenda that had generated considerable interest from residents, who packed the public gallery. Amongst items discussed were the Derby Local Plan and a number of motions put forward by councillors.

Public questions were received on a range of issues including waste processing, electoral governance, air quality and the future of the NHS. Councillors also had an opportunity to question Cabinet Members on topics such as taxi licensing reforms, voter ID and asset valuation.

The item that generated the most debate considered the future of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Rooms in Alvaston Park. The motion had been prompted by a decision not to renew the lease of the existing tenants and instead operate the cafe in-house by the same team who run similar cafeterias in Markeaton and Chaddesden Parks.

Councillors Graves and Ingall spoke in support of extending the lease, but Councillors Rawson and Bayliss stressed that the proposal would allow revenue to be reinvested in the park and should be based on operational considerations alone.

The motion was lost and following the debate the Mayor temporarily suspended the meeting.

After a short break, a motion regarding St George’s Day was tabled by Councillor Graves. The UKIP Leader, stressed the importance of annual events held in Derby. Following an amendment by the ruling Labour Group, endorsing the administration’s commitment to organise and fund St George’s Day celebrations, the motion was unanimously carried.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Cohesion and Integration, also called on councillors to support the Great British Spring Clean, which aims to encourage 500,000 people to participate in events across the country throughout March. The motion was passed with cross-party support.

A further Labour motion regarding the NHS and funding for adult social care was agreed, with support from Labour and UKIP councillors. Councillor Repton stated that urgent action was required to address a deepening crisis, while Conservative councillors emphasised their support for hard-working NHS staff in Derby.

To view the debate, visit the Derby City Council YouTube channel.