Green Belt, Sacred Cow artwork
50 Shades of Planning

Green Belt, Sacred Cow

  • E16
  • 55:54
  • April 22nd 2020

'I began to see what a sacred cow the Green Belt has become' said Minister for Housing & Local Government Richard Crossman in 1964.

The Green Belt is a political behemoth that has long loomed over the planning system. In this episode Sam Stafford asks Paul Miner, Strategic Planning & Devolution at CPRE, and Kathryn Ventham, Planning Partner at Barton Willmore, whether housing need is becoming a sufficiently irresistible force to shift hitherto immovable Green Belt boundaries?

Twitter handles: @samuel_stafford. @PaulMiner3 and @kateventham.

Some accompanying reading and viewing:

John Grindrod’s ‘Outskirts’

Ipsos Mori polling for the CPRE on public attitudes towards the Green Belt

Ipsos Mori polling for Housing The Powerhouse on attitudes towards housing development in Greater Manchester

'The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform' by the Adam Smith Institute

‘Planned up and be counted ‘ local plan making under NPPF 2012’ by Lichfields

‘This Blessed Plot – This Other Eden’ - A film for the Council for the Preservation of Rural England

‘The myth of the countryside idyll’ by Steve Middlehurst

Keith Joseph’s 1964 South East Study

A Policy Briefing Paper by the Landscape Institute

The London Society’s Position Paper

‘The Proud City’ – A film outlining plans for the post war reconstruction of London, featuring Patrick Abercrombie and JH Forshaw.

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 partnership with Cratus Group.

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

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