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Goodbye, 1007! A true 'champion of the little people'

Goodbye, 1007! A true 'champion of the little people'

Friday 01 July 2022

Goodbye, 1007! A true 'champion of the little people'

Friday 01 July 2022

The outgoing Environment Minister has led tributes to an islander involved in one of the longest planning rows in the island’s history after he passed away.

For around three decades, David Manning tried to gain planning permission to build a house and HQ for his Fetch and Karrie haulage business on Field 1007 in St. John, next to the former B&Q site.

He argued that, when he bought the field in the early 1970s, he had been given assurances by planning officers that he would be likely to receive permission.

A tireless campaigner

The matter reached the States Assembly several times over the years, but it was only after a campaign by the late Senator Vernon Tomes, that he finally won his right to build in the late 1990s.

However, he found himself in conflict with Planning once more in 2007 when he sought another licence to build a 111sqm shed to store a tractor and gardening tools.

The application was refused by the panel, which also queried whether Mr Manning had flouted rules by creating temporary structures in his garden.

Throughout the 2000s, he brought several challenges to the department to the Royal Court, opting to represent himself.

Foreshore support

Through his campaigning, he became a familiar face among States Members and journalists too - though his interests extended beyond his own applications and into other planning disputes.

Indeed, Mr Manning was highly supportive of Express's coverage after it revealed in 2017 that the Government had quietly been charging the owners of properties along the Foreshore thousands of pounds – so supportive, in fact, that he would often turn up to the office carrying vast maps to discuss the issues arising in-depth.

Among those who came to know Mr Manning well was outgoing Environment Minister Deputy John Young.

He told Express yesterday: "I recall David in the early 1990s when he ran his one-man campaign to secure planning consent in field 1007 St John. I recall him seeking signatures to his petition every weekend in King Street. He eventually persuaded States Members of the then IDC.

"I got to know more about David when I was elected a as Deputy a decade later in 2011, when he asked me to help him with his complaint against the planning system about a technicality resulting in enforcement action.

"I called on him at home and as we went through his papers and I heard his story - I was immensely impressed with his quiet determination to gain a just outcome."

"I saw his quiet dry humour"

He continued: "Although he had retired and was of advanced years, his recall of events was faultless, and I was amazed by his filing system. Every event of his interaction over the years with Planning was logged and organise.

"I saw his quiet dry humour with his wry smile and calm manner win people over. At the inquiry, I supported him and he was very impressive.

"I came away impressed by his tenacity. I was not surprised he won the inquiry hands-down."

The relationship did not end there.

"David then used to phone me regularly over several years to talk over other matters which he considered injustice and asked my advice, He was bright and able to deal with complex admin matters," former Deputy Young recalled.

"He was a champion for... 'the little people'"

"He was a champion for those which nowadays politics might call 'the little people' against those with greater power. He never gave up and pursued his other cases before the review board, and indeed in the Royal Court in the days before we had administrative tribunals."

Local blogger Mike Dun, who interviewed both former Deputy Young and Mr Manning for his YouTube channel in 2013, wrote on social media: "He was well known for his successful business activities and the difficulties he encountered dealing with various States Departments regarding his 'Field 1007' at St. John from 1970 onwards.

"I am proud to claim that I attended his very first meeting with the Jersey Planning office in 1970 before he even owned that field and helped him to fight the bureaucracy and officials over decades.

"He was persistent to the very end and achieved most of what he wanted whilst exposing to public scrutiny the deficiencies of those who administered the laws and policies of Jersey."

Video and pictured top: Local blogger Mike Dun's interview with John Young and David Manning. (Tom Gruchy/YouTube)

Mr Dun continued: "He deserves a monument to his efforts, and I hope that his undertaking and fine dwelling will be seen for many years to come in the context of the ordinary man prevailing against an oppressive State."

Mr Manning's funeral is taking place on Thursday 7 July at 11:30 at the Crematorium Chapel. His family have asked for donations to Jersey Hospice in lieu of flowers.

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Posted by Martin on
I had an incorrect opinion about David Manning until I met him ( albeit for 4 hours ) & was taken by his honesty - eloquence & his attention to detail regarding certain matters he was at variance with regarding Planning & other issues! A clever, determined & kind man!

A sad loss!
Posted by Jon Jon on
A clever guy who knew what to do to get his field approval.
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