THE chief executive of West Berkshire Council says the lack of affordable homes is the biggest issue facing the district.
Nick Carter’s claim came in response to a question asked by Newbury resident Neil Taylor.
Mr Taylor raised concerns about the increasing number of homeless people and a lack of affordable homes at Market Street.
Mr Carter responded: “I think your wider point is that there isn’t enough affordable housing.
“We as a local authority – and many employers in the audience – struggle with recruitment and a lot of that, particularly for low-paying jobs, is driven by the cost of living in West Berkshire.
“Affordable housing is, I think, probably our biggest challenge.
“It is probably our biggest challenge in West Berkshire, a huge challenge in the South East and a huge national challenge.
“We haven’t got the answers to it in many respects.
“The challenge we had with the Market Street scheme comes back down to viability.
“This is the issue we are constantly struggling with.
“There was an expectation when we started of having 30-per-cent affordable housing with the Market Street scheme.
“Simply getting that to a point where it was viable meant that, unfortunately, it was the affordable housing that was reduced and we have seen that with previous schemes.