48 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 Podcast.co

    • Government

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...

    Where are we now?

    Where are we now?

    'Where are we now?' asks Sam Stafford in this episode not in the manner of an exasperated child in the back of a hot car staring out at a traffic jam on the M5, but in the manner of an exasperated planning professional contemplating why, as we hurtle towards the end of the second year of this parliamentary term, the Government’s vision for the planning system, nay the country, remains, let’s say charitably, in embryonic form.


    A good indication as to where we are now comes from the raft of reports and speeches published and delivered by politicians and think tanks recently, seemingly with the aim of getting things off their desk before the end of term.


    July 2021 brought:


    A Robert Jenrick speech to the Local Government Association’s annual conference;A Boris Johnson speech on his vision to level up the United Kingdom;A Written Ministerial Statement from Robert Jenrick on building beautiful places alongside the revised NPPF and National Model Design Code;Place Alliance’s Design Deficit report;The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s report on Post-Pandemic Economic Growth and Levelling Up;The Department for Transport’s Plan for Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain; andTransparency International UK’s report: ‘House of Cards – Exploring access and influence in UK housing policy’.

    Joining Sam to chew over that little lot and to get a feel, as everybody heads either up or down the motorway network for their summer hols, are four friends of, and regular contributors to, the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast.


    Simon Ricketts (@sricketts1) is a Partner at Town Legal;Shelly Rouse (@rouse_shelly) is a Principal Consultant at the Planning Advisory Service;Vicky Payne (@Victoria_Payne) is a Senior Consultant at URBED; andPaul Smith (@Paul_SLG) is Managing Director at the Strategic Land Group.

    The 50 Shades of Planning Summer Holiday Reading List.


    Robert Jenrick’s speech to the Local Government Association’s annual conference


    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-government-association-annual-conference-2021-secretary-of-states-speech 


    Boris Johnson’s speech on his vision to level up the United Kingdom


    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-prime-ministers-levelling-up-speech-15-july-2021


    A Written Ministerial Statement from Robert Jenrick on building beautiful places (published alongside the revised NPPF and National Model Design Code)


    https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-07-20/hcws21


    Place Alliance’s 'Design Deficit' report


    http://placealliance.org.uk/research/design-deficit/


    The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s report on Post-Pandemic Economic Growth and Levelling Up


    https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/365/business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-committee/news/156781/governments-levelling-up-agenda-risks-becoming-an-everything-and-nothing-policy-say-business-committee/


    ‘Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain’ by the Department for Transport


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-decarbonisation-plan


    ‘House of Cards – Exploring access and influence in UK housing policy’ by Transparency International UK


    https://www.transparency.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdf/publications/House%20of%20Cards%20-%20Transparency%20International%20UK%20%28web%29.pdf


    The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2021 seeking a national strategy to improve the health of coastal communities


    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chief-medical-officer-annual-report-2021


    Some accompanying listening.


    Holiday by Happy Mondays


    https://youtu.be/kYRF7qcBMDg

    • 1 hr
    Aging well in place

    Aging well in place

    Hidden in the conclusions of the December 2020 Household Resilience Study (a Covid-specific follow-up to the English Housing Survey) was the striking statistic that 39% of households are under-occupied in that they have two or more spare bedrooms.


    It is easy to leap to the assumption, as indeed Sam Stafford admits to in this episode, that these households are elderly people, perhaps single elderly people, rattling around in family homes that they cannot bear to leave. From there it is also easy to assume that by encouraging people to downsize better use can be made of the existing housing stock.


    Why wouldn’t somebody want to move to a more manageable property or to a more sociable retirement community? It’s easy to paint a mental picture of ‘housing for older people’ without thinking too much more about it. Indeed, as Sam also admits, ‘housing for older people’ was the working title for this episode.


    This episode is about challenging those, and other, assumptions and preconceptions. Is the UK actually unique amongst our Western friends in not having a culture of downsizing? If we should is that for the state or the market to foster? Why is the development community not responding to an aging population with more bespoke accommodation and, if more could be encouraged, what should it look like and where should it be?


    Sam puts these questions to Silvia Gullino, Associate Professor in City Making at Birmingham City University; Graham Marshall, Director at ProSocial Place and Honorary Senior Fellow at Liverpool University; Rhiannon Corcoran, Professor of Psychology and Public Mental Health at Liverpool University; and Shannon Conway, Residential Director at Glenbrook Property.


    Twitter handles:


    @SilviaGullino@BCU_Planning@prosocialplace@rhiannoncor@PlaceWellbeing@ShannonConway99Glenbrookprop

    Some accompanying reading.


    Housing for older people - a report from the CLG Committee


    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/370/370.pdf


    Homes for healthy ageing: Understanding the challenges - A Catapult Future of Housing blog


    https://cp.catapult.org.uk/news/housing-the-elderly-understanding-the-challenges/


    Last Time Buyers - a report from L&G


    https://www.legalandgeneralgroup.com/assets/portal/files/pdf_175.pdf


    Rightsizing: Reframing the housing offer for older people - a report based on research undertaken by PHASE at Manchester School of Architecture 


    https://www.msa.ac.uk/media/msaacuk/documents/research/Rightsizing_MSA.pdf


    Guild Living wins planning appeal after ‘ageism’ row - Housing Today


    https://www.housingtoday.co.uk/news/guild-living-wins-planning-appeal-after-ageism-row/5112492.article


    The ten key design criteria that make up the HAPPI principles from the Housing Learning and Improvement Network


    https://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/browse/Design-building/HAPPI/


    Some accompanying viewing


    The Sopranos - ‘Green Grove is a retirement community...’


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1KfNAtgGM4


    Some accompanying listening


    Older by Band of Horses


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAdIYUI21s8


    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
    The Bin Lorry Effect

    The Bin Lorry Effect

    ‘Well-intentioned highways department rules and guidance have had a devastating effect on new housing developments over the past 80 years. Many have led to roads not streets, units not homes, and ‘could-be-anywhere’ housing developments, not real places with centres and edges. A range of rules have the effect of stopping you getting out and about, preventing you meeting your neighbours, stopping you from creating communities and locking you into car dependence.’


    That is a quote from the introduction to ‘The Bin Lorry Effect’, a briefing paper from Create Streets (see link below) about how 'new homes and places are ruined by highways regulations and how we can fight back'.


    Can we, as planners, look at the schemes that we are involved with and confidently say that we would want to live on that road?


    Are we creating places that are accessible for people aged 8 to 80?


    Are we submitting and approving applications that follow desire lines for pedestrians and cyclists?


    Are we supporting a 21st Century user hierarchy that places pedestrians and cyclists at the top, private motor vehicles at the bottom, and public transport in the middle?


    If not, why not?


    Sam Stafford puts these questions to David Milner, Deputy Director at Create Streets; Anna Parsons, Associate Design Director at Catesby Estates; and Alexis Edwards, Transport Development Team Leader at BCP Council.


    David and Alexis are on Twitter at @djjmiler and @MrAlexisEdwards. Anna is not on Twitter.


    Some accompanying reading.


    'The Bin Lorry Effect' by Create Streets


    https://www.createstreets.com/projects/the-bin-lorry-effect-11th-january/


    Traffic in Towns – The Buchanan Report


    https://www.udg.org.uk/publications/udlibrary/traffic-towns-buchanan-report


    ‘What’s wrong with modelling the ‘worst case’?’ by Rachel Aldred.


    http://rachelaldred.org/writing/consultations/whats-wrong-with-modelling-the-worst-case/


    ‘What is the status of Manual for Streets?’ by Andrew Lainton


    https://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2021/01/31/what-is-the-status-of-manual-for-streets/


    Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2): 2020 to 2025


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-investment-strategy-2-ris2-2020-to-2025


    Traffic signs manual


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-manual


    'Transport appraisal: a pathway to poor decision making?' by Andy Cope of Sustrans


    https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/opinion/2018/october/transport-appraisal-a-pathway-to-poor-decision-making


    Some accompanying listening.


    Less Than Useful by Ned's Atomic Dustbin


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYqfB44lEF0


    Some accompanying viewing.


    'How bins should be collected', by H.J Simpson


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwzV9SlNOTM


    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

    • 55 min
    A conversation with Clive Betts

    A conversation with Clive Betts

    Death, taxes and reform are the three certainties that accompany planners along life’s endless cycleway. Insofar as the latter is concerned, this is one of the more turbulent periods.


    White Papers come and White Papers go, but last year’s was particularly notable for it’s almost wholesale reimagining of the planning system.


    “Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War”, wrote the Prime Minister in his foreword to ‘Planning for the future’. “Not more fiddling around the edges, not simply painting over the damp patches, but levelling the foundations and building, from the ground up, a whole new planning system for England.”


    And since? Well there has not been a dicky bird from the Government, which is perhaps still wading through the 44,000 submissions to the consultation, and the debate, such that one can have a debate about a Planning Bill that has not been written yet, seems to have been captured by those who do not like whatever might be in it.


    What then to make of the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee’s report on the future of the planning system, which concluded with concerns about "the lack of detail, which has made it very difficult to assess the possible practical implications. The Government should consult on the details of proposed reforms to prevent unintended consequences and harms resulting from them”.


    Does the Select Committee’s report provide proponents of the White Paper with the homework required to make the proposals more palatable? Or does the report provide opponents of the White Paper with enough ammunition to hole it below the water line? And what is a Select Committee anyway?


    Sam Stafford puts these questions to Clive Betts MP, the Chair of the HCLG Committee who you will hear 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'. This quote now features on a 50 Shades of Planning Podcast t-shirt, which is available to buy in black or white and in S, M and L sizes. If you would like one please email samstafford@hotmail.com.


    Some reading to accompany this episode.


    Planning for the future


    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future


    The future of the planning system in England, a report by the HCLG Committee


    https://committees.parliament.uk/work/634/the-future-of-the-planning-system-in-england/publications/


    Notes on planning reform: “the algorithm warmed us all up”, by Zack Simons


    https://www.planoraks.com/posts-1/notes-on-planning-reform-the-algorithm-warmed-us-all-up


    Taking Stock - The geography of housing need, permissions and completions, by Lichfields


    https://lichfields.uk/content/insights/taking-stock-the-geography-of-housing-need-permissions-and-completions


    Some accompanying listening.


    White Paper by Finley Quaye


    https://youtu.be/GK8osGlsVgE

    • 44 min
    Some are more equal than others

    Some are more equal than others

    What is town planning for? The Royal Town Planning Institute champions the ‘power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities’. The Town & Country Planning Association ‘works to challenge, inspire and support people to create healthy, sustainable and resilient places that are fair for everyone’. As Raymond Unwin wrote in the foreword to the Housing, Town Planning, Etc, Act of 1909: "Town Planning has a prosaic sound, but the words stand for a movement which has perhaps a more direct bearing on the life and happiness of great masses of the people than any other single movement of our time”.


    Who is town planning for? How are we to reconcile these lofty ambitions with the fact that black and other minorities are at least twice as likely to be deprived of green space compared to a white person in the UK; with the fact the average amount of money accrued by owning property over the last decade is £150,000 for the average white family and £0 for the average black family; and with the fact that whilst 3% of White households live in overcrowded accommodation, that figure rises to 22% for Black households, 23% for Indian households and 35% for Pakistani and Bangladeshi households.


    Does planning remain a progressive force for social justice or has it become a regressive tool for the preservation of the status quo?


    Sam Stafford puts these questions to Danny Dorling (@dannydorling), Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography and Fellow of St Peter's College at Oxford University; Vicky Payne (@Victoria_Payne), planner and urbanist at URBED; and Ben Southwood (@bswud), Head of Housing, Transport & Urban Space at Policy Exchange.


    Some accompanying reading.


    Covid spread as overcrowding doubles among private renters in England.


    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/24/covid-spread-as-overcrowding-doubles-among-private-renters-in-england


    'Capital cities: How the planning system creates housing shortages and drives wealth inequality'. 


    https://www.centreforcities.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-06-13-Capital-cities-how-the-planning-system-creates-housing-shortages-and-drives-wealth-inequality.pdf


    How London's property boom left Black Britons with nothing.


    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-05-18/uk-property-wealth-data-2021-show-big-gap-between-black-and-white-homeowners


    One in three adults in Britain 'do not have a safe or secure home'.


    https://www.bigissue.com/latest/one-in-three-adults-in-britain-do-not-have-a-safe-or-secure-home/#:~:text=One%20in%20three%20adults%20in%20Britain%20do%20not%20have%20a,housing%20crisis%20than%20white%20people.


    Resourcing Public Planning


    https://www.rtpi.org.uk/policy/2019/november/resourcing-public-planning/ 


    A housing design audit for England.


    http://placealliance.org.uk/research/national-housing-audit/


    The cost of the cuts: The impact on local government and poorer communities.


    https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/Summary-Final.pdf


    All that is solid: How the great housing disaster defines our times and what we can do about it.


    http://www.dannydorling.org/books/allthatissolid/


    Deciphering the fall and rise in the net capital share.


    https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/deciphering-the-fall-and-rise-in-the-net-capital-share/


    Some accompanying listening.


    Fixer Upper by Yard Act


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdJj3soqn-4

    • 53 min
    Hitting The High Notes - Ben Castell

    Hitting The High Notes - Ben Castell

    Hitting The High Notes is town planning’s equivalent of Desert Island Discs. In these episodes Sam Stafford will be chatting 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 will be asking 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 the 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 Aecom Director Ben Castell (@ben_castell). Their conversation takes in the New Deal For Communities; CABE; good practice design guides; the Housing Market Renewal Initiative and neighbourhood planning.


    Ben's song selections.


    Brickbat by Billy Bragg


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgKKZSF04Ks


    Clandestino by Manu Chao


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSEUH4KRfN8


    Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlP3J3J3Upw


    Honest Life by Courtney Marie Andrews


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cv0ATLNDJQ


    Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town by Kenny Rogers


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1e9p6J89rQ


    NW5 by Madness


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1J2-_u9DOM


    Ben's Spotify playlist.


    https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6IXe20tZ0BPbd4kwTa6iN3?si=uDSo6r43TjuwQ-rEZkwcEA&dl_branch=1

    • 1 hr

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