When does private become public and public become private? A very fine line

Remember this post from 20 April 2016 when several of our local dignitaries enjoyed a very chummy night out at the opening of the Deer Park Hotel’s new Orangery?

Publicans and ex-publicans enjoy a jolly good night out …


Colin Brown, East Devon District Councillor for Dunkeswell, EDDC Development Management Committee and Licensing Enforcement Committee, of the Monkton Court Hotel, Honiton; director of Bell Vue Developments

Paul Diviani, Leader EDDC, Devon County Councillor and Local Enterprise Partnership board member and formerly of the Stockland Arms Hotel, Stockland

Jenny Wheatley-Brown, also of the Monkton Court Hotel, Honiton and Conservative candidate for district council seat (lost) at Seaton at the last election and also director of Bell Vue Developments


John O’Leary, EDDC Councillor, Licensing Enforcement Committee, with special responsibility for the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton and Town Councillor for Honiton St Pauls, also formerly of the Stockland Arms Hotel, Stockland

at The Deer Park Country House Hotel for the unveiling of it’s orangery.”

Well, it appears that all of them considered that they were being invited to this knees up in their private capacities, since none of them have declared the event in their “Hospitality and Gifts” expenses at EDDC.

What a very, very, very fine line our politicians tread.

So, if the Deer Park comes before either the Development Management Committee or the Licensing Committee in future Messrs Brown and O’Leary can sit on them with clear consciences.

And for your delectation, here is how the night was described by one attendee:

The building boasts floor-to-ceiling palatial arched windows and decadent chandeliers, and mosaic flooring with dapper decor throughout.  The lavish bash was held in Honiton last Friday (April 15).  Mike Arscott, sales and marketing director at Deer Park Hotel, said “The orangery launch party was an outstanding success.  “It was a genuine privilege to gather over 300 friends, colleagues and constructors together to celebrate the completion of our latest phase of development.  “I am extremely proud of the new facilities at Deer Park and look forward to welcoming many old and new faces back to see the beauty and style we have put back into this stunning country house.  The party wouldn’t have been a success without the support from our local suppliers. The madness of the cabaret acts and magic performers plus a simply spiffing fireworks display, will live long in all our memories.”


Unfortunately, the “Gifts and Hospitality” page of the EDDC website appears to be offline at the moment, but when it is up and running again, you can access it here:



One thought on “When does private become public and public become private? A very fine line

  1. I am unclear why there should be a distinction between gifts to councillors from 3rd parties (as opposed to genuine friends and family) given in their capacity as a councillor or as a private individual. Regardless of the role in which they were given it, it is still potentially an incentive to make a different decision and IMO in the interests of transparency should be declared.


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