Open market economics don't work for housing, says Trust.

The Civic Trust has branded the government's housing plan as 'wholly unrealistic' after it published the consultation paper Planning for Housing Provision. The charity, which champions the cause of urban Britain and the quality of the built environment, says that the proposals outlined in the paper will not achieve its stated objective: to give everyone the opportunity of an affordable, decent home in a community where they want to live and work.

The Trusts says the assumption that the market is capable of providing everyone with a decent, affordable home goes against all evidence; that some people will be life-long tenants as they cannot afford to buy and that the current housing shortage cannot be blamed solely on the planning system.

Dame Jennifer Jenkins, chair of the Civic Trust's Policy Committee said: " The paper's recommendations do not provide a good basis to plan for housing. In fact, we think it will have the opposite effect as it suggests housing supply should be controlled by the open market. This will not solve our housing shortage, nor will it provide the range of housing needed, and it will contribute to urban and rural environmental damage."

The Royal Town Planning Institute echoed that of the Civic Trust, saying that while the planning system needed to be more responsive to the housing market, the consultation paper 'went too far'.

Chris Scrafton, RTPI policy officer, said: "we must support the drive for more housing, but not at the cost of other sustainable planning considerations, planning is about finding a balance between often competing land use interests."

He said that too much emphasis was placed on economic aspect, to the detriment of social and environmental concerns, and that it was essential for the difference between housing need and housing demand to be recognised.