How and where can and should more homes be built? artwork
50 Shades of Planning

How and where can and should more homes be built?

  • E13
  • 1:05:40
  • February 11th 2020

Sam Stafford chats with John Myers (YIMBY Alliance), Barbara Weiss (Barbara Weiss Architects) and Matt Thomson (CPRE) about how to build more and better homes and more and better places.

Adding storeys, mansion blocks and other forms of gentle densification are agreeable in principle, but how can they be encouraged in practice? Do we build up in the meantime? Not everybody likes tall buildings. Do we build out in the meantime? Lots of people like the Green Belt...

John Myers (@YimbyAlliance) worked as a lawyer, an analyst and in technology before cofounding London Yimby in 2016.

Matt Thomson (@MattThomson42) is Head of Planning at CPRE. Matt is a professional town planner with over 15 years’ experience in local government and was formerly head of policy and practice at the RTPI.

Barbara Weiss founded Barbara Weiss Architects in 1987. Barbara has been involved in the Skyline Campaign that 'aims to stop the devastation of London by badly designed tall buildings in the wrong location'.

Some reading associated with this episode:

Some listening associated with 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 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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