Tributes paid to ‘selfless’ former East Devon council leader Paul Diviani who has died

Tributes have been paid to former East Devon District Council (EDDC) leader Paul Diviani who has died following a long illness.

Mr Diviani, served on the authority for 20 years, has been remembered as ‘a joy and an inspiration to work with’.

He was EDDC leader from 2011 to 2018 and was also its chairman, portfolio holder for economy andregeneration and strategic development during his tenure.

Mr Diviani served on Devon County Council representing Honiton St Paul’s and was made an Honorary Alderman of EDDC in 2019.

He died on Thursday, January 5.

EDDC chair Councillor Ian Thomas said: “I was deeply saddened by the news of Paul’s passing. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Paul’s family and friends.

“I knew Paul well, serving in his cabinet throughout his leadership.

Tributes have been paid to former East Devon District Council leader Paul Diviani. Picture: EDDC

Tributes have been paid to former East Devon District Council leader Paul Diviani. Picture: EDDC

“Paul was much more than ‘front-of-house’ for the council and a great ambassador for EDDC through his work at national level with the Local Government Association, at county level as a long-serving county councillor and at district level through his work with his beloved Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“The relationship that he established with the late Pete Edwards when he was leader of Exeter City Council was instrumental in securing tens of millions of pounds of investment into East Devon.

“We continue to benefit from the impact of this funding, particularly in our work around the Cranbrook new town.”

EDDC chief executive Mark Williams added: “Paul was a joy and an inspiration to work with and I have many happy memories of much fun and laughter at the various events and meetings we attended together as leader and CEO over the years that I knew and worked with him.

“In addition to his time as a councillor, he was well-known locally from his 19 years as landlord of The Kings Arms pub in Stockland and will be much missed by us all.”

Leader for the Conservatives in East Devon Cllr Philip Skinner said: “Paul Diviani was a very selfless man.

“He was a man who was never critical of other people; he was more concerned about doing good things.

“He had a very good insight to vision work and he was very much a strategic thinker.

“Strategic, not just in the planning process, but strategic in the way that the council should operate, and the way that it should run.

“He balanced providing good services, but at the same time of course driving our economic agenda, which is the agenda I very much wish to promote myself.”

Additional reporting by Local Democracy Reporter Rob Kershaw. 

Second home owners and empty properties in East Devon to be hit with double council tax costs under new rules

About Author