70 episodes

Sam Stafford started writing the 50 Shades of Planning blog in 2012 and in 2019 turned it into a podcast. 50 Shades of Planning is about the foibles of the English planning system and it's aim is to cover the breadth of the sector both in terms of topics of conversation and in terms of guests with different experiences and perspectives.


50 Shades episodes include 'Hitting The High Notes', which is a series of conversations with leading planning and property figures. The conversations take in the six milestone planning permissions or projects within a contributor’s career and for every project guests are invited to choose a piece of music that they were listening to at that time. Think Desert Island Discs, but for planners! If you would like to feature on 'Hitting The High Notes', or know somebody that would make a great guest, please email samstafford@hotmail.com.


If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html


Sam is on Twitter (@samuel_stafford) and his blogs can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com.


The 50 Shades of Planning Podcast is produced in association with BECG - the Built Environment Communications Group. BECG are on Twitter at @BECGUK and online at www.becg.com.


Why Fifty Shades? Well, planning is not a black and white endeavor. There are at least fifty shades in between...

The 50 Shades of Planning Podcast Samuel Stafford

    • Government
    • 4.7 • 43 Ratings

Sam Stafford started writing the 50 Shades of Planning blog in 2012 and in 2019 turned it into a podcast. 50 Shades of Planning is about the foibles of the English planning system and it's aim is to cover the breadth of the sector both in terms of topics of conversation and in terms of guests with different experiences and perspectives.


50 Shades episodes include 'Hitting The High Notes', which is a series of conversations with leading planning and property figures. The conversations take in the six milestone planning permissions or projects within a contributor’s career and for every project guests are invited to choose a piece of music that they were listening to at that time. Think Desert Island Discs, but for planners! If you would like to feature on 'Hitting The High Notes', or know somebody that would make a great guest, please email samstafford@hotmail.com.


If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html


Sam is on Twitter (@samuel_stafford) and his blogs can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com.


The 50 Shades of Planning Podcast is produced in association with BECG - the Built Environment Communications Group. BECG are on Twitter at @BECGUK and online at www.becg.com.


Why Fifty Shades? Well, planning is not a black and white endeavor. There are at least fifty shades in between...

    Hitting The High Notes - Anna Rose

    Hitting The High Notes - Anna Rose

    Hitting The High Notes is town planning’s equivalent of Desert Island Discs. In these episodes Sam Stafford chats to preeminent figures in the planning and property sectors about the six planning permissions or projects that helped to shape them as professionals. And, so that we can get to know people a little better personally, for every permission or project Sam asks his guests for a piece of music that reminds them of that period of their career.


    Unlike Desert Island Discs you will not hear any of that music during the episode because using commercially-licensed music without the copyright holders permission or a very expensive PRS licensing agreement could land Sam in hot water, so, when you have finished listening to this episode, you will have to make do with YouTube videos and a Spotify playlist, links to which you will find below.


    Sam's guest for this episode of Hitting The High Notes is Anna Rose. After eschewing a career in fashion, Anna worked as a legal advisor at the National Farmers Union before joining Rugby Borough Council and working her way to become Head of Planning & Culture. After a spell as Service Director at Milton Keynes Council, Anna (@EPlanna) has since 2017 been the Head of the Planning Advisory Service (@pas_team) at the Local Government Association. Sam and Anna's conversation takes in the relationships and skills required to plan strategically and deliver major new development; leadership and systems thinking; and LPA recruitment practices.


    Anna's song selections.


    Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma9I9VBKPiw


    Human - The Killers


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIZdjT1472Y


    Try – P!NK


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTCDVfMz15M


    Zombie – Jamie T


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PU4d5Iogd4


    Tilted – Christine & The Queens


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptu3TFmF0Jo


    If I Got It (Your Love brought It) – Aaron Frazer


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlNBg35ItSo


    Anna's Spotify playlist


    https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4NqDjMStSYGn3tlmBEYPR0?si=uGKpLS7mSSSyoTI3Sj8QuQ


    Some accompanying reading


    The Planning Advisory Service


    https://www.local.gov.uk/latest-news-pas


    Houlton, Rugby


    https://houltonrugby.co.uk/


    MK Futures 2050


    https://www.mkfutures2050.com/


    PAS' 'Return To Work' project


    https://www.local.gov.uk/return-to-work-planning


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 58 min
    Place, Politics & The Piece Hall

    Place, Politics & The Piece Hall

    When Sam Stafford saw that Create Streets and Onward were bringing their 'Restitch' conference to Halifax's Piece Hall, his favourite building, he could not have been more excited. He was though even more excited when the organisers agreed to let him set up a 'pop-up' recording studio at the back of one of the breakout rooms so as to record conversations with some of the conference's contributors during the day.


    This bumper episode then is the accumulation of those recorded conversations and in it you will hear from (broken down into time slots if you are dipping in and out):


    2m:35s


    Ben Page, Chief Executive Officer, Ipsos (@benatipsos)


    16m:05s


    Andrew Taylor, Group Planning Director, Countryside (@AndrewJTaylor3) & Pete Gladwell, Group Social Impact & Investment Director, L&G (@petegladwell)


    28m:48s


    Amy Burbidge, Senior Master Development and Design Manager, Homes England (@AmyBurbidge2); Mike Axon, Managing Director, Vectos: and David Milner, Deputy Director, Create Streets (@djjmilner)


    49m:00s


    Neil O’Brien, Harborough MP & Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DLUHC (@NeilDotObrien)


    54m:45s


    Nicky Chance-Thompson, Chief Executive, The Piece Hall Trust (@NickyChanThomDL)


     01h:07m:00s


    Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council (@TimSwift)


    01h:23m:10s


    Nicholas Boys Smith, Director, Create Streets (@boys_nicholas)


    Some accompanying reading


    The 'Piece Hall Effect' is bringing millions into Calderdale's economy, new report reveals


    https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/heritage-and-retro/heritage/piece-hall-effect-bringing-millions-calderdales-economy-new-report-reveals-1746319


    Some accompanying viewing/listening


    Gravity by Embrace, live at The Piece Hall (Sam was there)


    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2421918771409236


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Three Things (or 'The 50 Shades Manifesto For Sensible Planning Reform')

    Three Things (or 'The 50 Shades Manifesto For Sensible Planning Reform')

    Regular 50 Shades Listeners will know that Sam Stafford recently had dinner with a DLUHC Minister. The conversation during dessert turned, with a set piece Planning Bill off of the agenda, to the three most impactful things that Michael Gove could do to improve the planning system. Sam subsequently shared his thoughts on Twitter (see link below) and they provoked a bit of a discussion, which he thought worthy of exploring further in a 50 Shades episode.


    This then is what prompted Episode 65’s 'Call for Evidence' in which Sam invited 50 Listeners to share their own suggestions for practical, pragmatic changes that, with little fuss and fanfare, could have a positive, meaningful impact on the planning system. Sam discusses the submissions, let's perhaps call them the '50 Shades Manifesto For Sensible Planning Reform', in this episode with Claire Petricca-Riding, Jonathan Easton and Paul Smith.


    Claire (@PetriccaRiding) is a Partner and National Head of Planning & Environmental Law at Irwin Mitchell. Jonathan (@jonnye47) is full-time planning barrister at Kings Chambers and a part-time punster on Twitter. Paul (@paul_slg) is Managing Director at the Strategic Land Group.


    Some accompanying reading.


    Sam’s three areas for impactful planning reform


    http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2022/03/three-things.html


    Planning for the better future – RTPI Proposals for Planning Reform in England


    https://www.rtpi.org.uk/policy/2021/march/planning-for-a-better-future/


    Local development planning in Scotland - regulations and guidance consultation: part B - proposals for development planning regulations


    https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-development-planning-regulations-guidance-consultation-part-b-proposals-development-planning-regulations/


    The Future of Strategic Planning in England by the County Councils Network and Catriona Riddell Associates 


    https://www.countycouncilsnetwork.org.uk/report-calls-on-government-to-implement-a-new-planning-model-as-two-thirds-of-councils-say-the-pressure-on-their-infrastructure-is-excessive-due-to-housing


    RTPI South West Pilot Mentoring Programme for early career planners


    https://www.rtpi.org.uk/swmentoring


    'The Queen’s Speech – Levelling Up and Planning Reform, what can be legislated for?'


    https://lichfields.uk/blog/2022/may/10/the-queen-s-speech-levelling-up-and-planning-reform-what-can-be-legislated-for/


    Government response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee report on The Future of the Planning System in England


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-the-planning-system-in-england-government-response-to-the-select-committee-report/government-response-to-the-levelling-up-housing-and-communities-select-committee-report-on-the-future-of-the-planning-system-in-england


    The Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill: Highlights, Headlines and Henry the Eighth


    https://imbusiness.passle.net/post/102hof6/the-levelling-up-regeneration-bill-highlights-headlines-and-henry-the-eighth


    Local Plans Expert Group: report to the Secretary of State


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-plans-expert-group-report-to-the-secretary-of-state


    Sir Oliver Letwin’s independent review of build out


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-build-out-final-report


    Some accompanying listening.


    The Verve – Three Steps


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFiM4FORyC8


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 57 min
    Leading From The Front

    Leading From The Front

    ‘Is there a local authority staffing crisis', Sam Stafford asked Catriona Riddell, Peter Geraghty and Paul Brocklehurst in Episode 60.  That episode, regular listeners might recall, was informed by a 'Call for Evidence' and Sam invited people across the profession to share their thoughts on what life is actually like on planning’s front line.


    It quickly became apparent that Catriona, Peter, Paul and Sam would not be able to do the submissions justice in an hour-long conversation so Sam reproduced them in full on the 50 Shades Blog.


    To say that this topic struck something of a nerve is a bit of an understatement. The blog, at the time of this recording, has been viewed over 12,000 times. It does make for uncomfortable reading. Joey Gardiner described it in Planning magazine as a ‘veritable howl of despair’. “It portrays a system on the edge”, wrote Joey, “manned by staff crushed by overwork and pandemic isolation, and suffering regular abuse from the public and even members”.


    The position is not uniform across the country, of course, and there are, also of course, lots of good planners in good local authorities doing lots of good work. That being said, based upon that Call for Evidence, there is a very strong case to say that there is indeed a local authority staffing crisis.


    So then. What is to be done? Planners know that planning can and indeed should be at the heart of improving existing places and making great new ones. Why doesn’t everybody? Planners know the value of planning, but if local authority planners aren’t being valued, and aren’t being paid their worth, then who can blame them for doing something more rewarding?


    Sam explores these themes in this episode with Ben Woolnough, Rebecca Coley, Pooja Agrawal and Paul Frainer.


    Ben (@benhoward_w) is Planning Manager, East Suffolk Council; Rebecca (@PlanningGeek) is Head of Planning & Development at Trafford Council; Pooja (@AgrawalPooj) is CEO and co-founder at Public Practice; and Paul (@paulfrainer) is Head of Place/Climate Programme Lead at TPXimpact (latterly Assistant Director – Strategy & Economy at South Cambs and Cambridge City Councils).


    Some accompanying reading.


    The Life on the Front Line Blog


    http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/12/life-on-front-line.html


    The Design Code Pathfinder Programme


    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/communities-empowered-to-shape-design-of-neighbourhoods


    Local Government Terms & Conditions (Green Book)


    https://www.local.gov.uk/local-government-terms-and-conditions-green-book


    East Suffolk's GIS-based Annual Monitoring Report


    https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/dfbbb431cf6c44c88bc58975e59ce191


    Some accompanying viewing.


    Public Practice in Greater Cambridge


    https://vimeo.com/635177034


    Some accompanying listening.


    Higher ground by Stevie Wonder


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wZ3ZG_Wams


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Hitting The High Notes - Pete Swift

    Hitting The High Notes - Pete Swift

    Hitting The High Notes is town planning’s equivalent of Desert Island Discs. In these episodes Sam Stafford chats to preeminent figures in the planning and property sectors about the six planning permissions or projects that helped to shape them as professionals. And, so that we can get to know people a little better personally, for every permission or project Sam asks his guests for a piece of music that reminds them of that period of their career.


    Unlike Desert Island Discs you will not hear any of that music during the episode because using commercially-licensed music without the copyright holders permission or a very expensive PRS licensing agreement could land Sam in hot water, so, when you have finished listening to this episode, you will have to make do with YouTube videos and a Spotify playlist, links to which you will find below.


    Sam's guest for this episode of Hitting The High Notes is Pete Swift. After graduating in Landscape Design & Plant Science at Sheffield University, and spending some time in Japan, Pete (@peteswifysan) co-founded landscape and design practice Planit. Their conversation takes in the Liverpool International Garden Festival, Michael Douglas in Black Rain and Tom Hicks and George Gillett's tenure at Anfield.


    Pete's song selections.


    Absolute - Scritti Politti


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Mk_JgesEM


    Can’t be sure - The Sundays


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yARVs1ZNLjU


    Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWmrfgj0MZI


    Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYIAfiVGluk


    Silver (Tidal Wave) - Echo and the Bunnymen 


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmYB8VejrC8


    The System only Dreams in Total Darkness - The National


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O6duDDkhis


    Pete's Spotify playlist


    https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3VTPF6fYR45eQhrXJUrwos?si=PgY_UlMITiyVGROEeY3Nrg__;!!CbnuSKVWDws!xq_Lry1gzPm_vSXH2qTUMwK0ui4WeiwCcGwaxdDkr8dJFnOU


    Some accompanying reading


    Planit


    https://www.planit-ie.com/our-projects/


    Festival gardens: The fascinating and controversial history behind one of Liverpool's beauty spots


    https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/story-festival-gardens-wasteland-international-17133347


    Why is there a Japanese Kyoto Garden in Holland Park?


    https://londonist.com/london/great-outdoors/why-is-there-a-japanese-kyoto-garden-in-holland-park


    Liverpool Waters


    https://liverpoolwaters.co.uk/


    What’s planned for Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square


    https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/info/500354/our_town_hall/7297/our_town_hall_project_-_the_transformation/2


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 1 hr
    Call for Evidence - Three Things

    Call for Evidence - Three Things

    Sam Stafford's Twitter friends might have spotted that he had dinner with a DLUHC Minister last week. The conversation during dessert turned, with a set piece Planning Bill now off the agenda, to the three most impactful things that Michael Gove could do to improve the planning system. Sam subsequently shared his thoughts on Twitter and they provoked a bit of a discussion, which he thought worthy of exploring further in a 50 Shades episode.


    This then is a Call for Evidence. Sam would like to know the three most impactful things that 50 Shades Listeners think Michael Gove could do to improve the planning system. Let's not talk in general terms about things like, for example, LPA resources or in radical terms about things like, for example, 'Growth, Renewal and Protection Areas'. Let's not "level the foundations and build, from the ground up, a whole new planning system for England". Let's talk in practical, pragmatic terms about the relatively modest changes that, with little fuss and fanfare, and certainly no requirement for legislation, could have a positive, meaningful impact on what it is that Planners are trying to achieve.


    Sam's plan is to review your submissions with some of the regular 50 Shades crew and then he will piece everything together for onward transmission to Mr Gove.


    If you are interested in being involved please send your contributions to samstafford@hotmail.com before the end of April.


    Some accompanying reading.


    Sam's Three Things


    http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2022/03/three-things.html


    Some accompanying listening.


    Three is a Magic Number by Bob Dorough


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDbeVB4admk


    50 Shades T-Shirts!


    If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...


    'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.


    Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

Zaragreg ,

Excellent

Well done, very interesting!

G Bav ,

So glad I found a planning podcast!! Who knew there would be such a thing

I am so happy I have found this podcast, I am training to be a planner, I will be the only one in the company as I work for a financial wealth firm!I am currently studying towards my HnD in Environmental Studies to enable me to complete my degree in Urban and Rural planning. I listen to this podcast whilst at work to give me some exposure to planning specific topics and knowledge. It’s been so helpful and I have caught up to speed with the last way episode since first discovering it in November 2020. I’ve learnt a lot already and listening to you and the guest speakers really does encourage me to keep going and achieve my goal to be a planner, who knows maybe one day I’ll be a guest speaker! Thank you for creating this amazing podcast

Steve Irvine ,

The best planning podcast out there

If you’re interested in town planning and all its facets, you’re going to like this podcast. Sam and his revolving carousel of interesting guests always cover great subjects in some depth without ever losing you in technical jargon. One for your commute planning types.

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