How to plan strategically without strategic planning artwork
50 Shades of Planning

How to plan strategically without strategic planning

  • E9
  • 55:19
  • November 8th 2019

10 January 2020, as planners working in the West Midlands will know, is the date by which the 37,900 home shortfall identified in the Birmingham Development Plan needs to have been accommodated by the other local planning authorities in the Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area. In this episode Sam Stafford chats with Mike Best (Senior Director at Turley (@bestlaidplan)), Mark Parkinson (Economic Development & Planning Policy Manager at Staffordshire County Council (@MarkA_Parkinson)), and Craig Jordan (Head of Economic Growth & Development at Lichfield District Council) about the progress that has been made towards meeting this deadline. The shortfall issue, as Sam and his guests explore during the discussion, brings into sharp focus the difficulties that policy planners have planning for greater-than-local issues without a statutory basis to do so.

Sam and Mike's previous blogs on the shortfall can be found here:

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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