Trust me. I'm a planner artwork
50 Shades of Planning

Trust me. I'm a planner

  • E5
  • 48:14
  • August 16th 2019

Sam Stafford and his guests Vicky Payne and Paul Smith explore a possible link between the cinematic portrayal of property developers as wrong 'uns and this survey from Grosvenor ( that looks at levels of public distrust in placemaking and large-scale development. Thanks to Vicky for the title of this episode.

50 Shades of Planning

Sam Stafford started posting on 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 [email protected].

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:

Sam is on Bluesky ( and Instagram (@samuel__stafford), and his blogs can be found here:

As with the 50 Shades Blog, the 50 Shades Podcast is a platform for Sam's personal opinions, which may or may not represent the opinions of his past, present or future employers.

50 Shades of Planning is produced in association with Cavendish (

The image of the Piece Hall is used with the kind permission Ellis Robinson (I: @ellisjrobinson) and has been turned into the 50 Shades logo by Vicky Payne (I: @_.vicky_payne._).

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

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