Published: 28/12/2007 00:00 - Updated: 30/11/2011 12:07

Urquhart set to spearhead housing fair

Jean Urquhart
Jean Urquhart

A WESTER Ross councillor is spearheading efforts to attract in excess of 30,000 visitors to a trailblazing housing fair next year. The steering group of the UK's first ever Housing Fair, due to be held in Inverness in 2009, has appointed councillor Jean Urquhart (Strathpeffer, Wester Ross and Lochalsh) as its chair. As vice-convenor of Highland Council, Ullapool-based Cllr Urquhart is regarded by organisers as a high profile figure in the area in which the Highland Housing Fair will be held and it is hoped she'll help achieve its aim of attracting 30,000 visitors to the event. The Highland Housing Fair will be based on a successful model that is found throughout mainland Europe, particularly Finland. Its purpose is to showcase the very best in housing design and innovation, with sustainability being the key theme throughout. Other important themes of the Fair will be design, innovation, affordability and energy efficiency. A number of Ross-shire architects are numbered amongst those taking part. The Fair, which has the backing of the Scottish Government, promises an exciting and diverse range of more than 50 architecturally-designed homes, which will all be available to purchase or rent. Of these, 40 per cent will be affordable and 60 per cent will be available on the free market. The architects and developers that will create homes on the site were selected via a competition launched in January 2007. Accredited by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the competition invited architects and developers to compete for plots at the site. Subsequent Fairs will be held every two years in other locations in the Highlands. Commenting on her appointment, Cllr Urquhart said, "The Steering Group is now ready to move the Highland Housing Fair onto the next phase and I'm delighted to be appointed as chair at this exciting time. "The Highland Housing Fair will be a landmark event for Scotland. Nothing like this has ever been done in the UK before and the planning for the event is going really well. I am absolutely committed to helping the steering group to achieve the goals of the Fair and make the event the success that it deserves to be. "The Fair also represents a superb opportunity for businesses that promote sustainable services and products because its ethos is to make sustainability a standard element of all housing design in the future. In the 1930s, it was rare to have an inside WC and now this is a standard feature in a home, and we hope to achieve the same outcome with sustainable features." The Highland Housing Fair will be held in Balvonie, on the outskirts of the City of Inverness, in August 2009. Further information is available at http://www.highlandhousingfair.co.uk

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