Scottish Government
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Scottish Housing Expo

First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday welcomed the success of Scotland's Housing Expo as he made a return visit to the sustainable homes event on its penultimate day.

The Expo, the first event of its kind to be held in Scotland, had attracted 30,629 by Sunday evening, with visitors from across the world, including housing professionals from as far afield as Australia, Norway and Ireland.

The Expo, backed by £2 million Scottish Government capital funding, is a permanent housing development of 27 different projects showcasing innovative, sustainable homes. It aims to encourage better design, including improved energy use and energy conservation, to help cut households' carbon footprint.

The Expo is similar to Housing Fairs commonly held in Nordic countries and Mr Salmond, who first visited the site on the outskirts of Inverness in July, today met delegates from Suomen Asuntomessut, the Finnish Housing Fair Co-operative, led by Managing Director Pasi Heiskanen.

The First Minister said:

"I was hugely impressed by what I saw when I visited the Expo site before it opened to the public and I'm delighted to be able to see many more of the fantastic homes on the completed development. The Scottish Government was happy to support this exemplar project which showcases innovative, sustainable housing to a wide audience and can help change attitudes towards house and place design. It is a testament to the vision and hard work of all of those involved in delivering Scotland's first Housing Expo that the target for visitor numbers has already been exceeded - with another two days available for people to see these inspiring homes.

"Beyond the success of the Expo event itself, which has supported more than 300 jobs locally and already attracted more than 30,000 visitors, we will work with partners to fully evaluate the project and help maximise its legacy. The input of our Finnish guests is extremely valuable in that regard and I was very interested to hear their views. Of course, the immediate legacy is the creation of a wonderful and unique community on the edge of the Highland capital."

Mr Heiskanen said:

"We are very impressed by what has been achieved in Scotland's first Housing Expo and how the project has been managed. Our visit has given us an excellent opportunity to share ideas on best practice for the future. Creating this kind of platform is very important in demonstrating to politicians, the media, experts and the general public, best practice across a range of disciplines, including town planning, architecture and low energy solutions. By succeeding to achieve this, you speed up the development towards better housing in the future."

Chair of the board of Scotland's Housing Expo, Councillor Jean Urquhart said:

"The Expo has been extraordinarily well received; it has achieved the ambition of making people think about the future of house building and home-making in Scotland. It has attracted favourable comment and seen repeat visits from many professionals who are already talking about the next one. Those of us involved in the project could have hoped for nothing more. The return visit of the First Minister is testament to how relevant and timely this development is. "

Susan Torrance, Chief Executive of the Highland Housing Alliance said:

"We're extremely proud to have delivered the houses for Scotland's First Housing Expo and delighted the homes have been viewed by 30,629 visitors so far. The success of the event is down to the teams of architects, planners, construction companies and developers who have pulled together to put in place the crucial site and build elements of the project, to deliver more than 50 innovative, sustainable homes. These are unique architect designed properties - encompassing apartments, terraced, semi detached and detached properties offering people at all life's stages the opportunity to be part of a unique new community.

"With the first phase of properties now released for sale on the private market starting from a guide price of £220,000, each property offers great value for money and features eco-friendly materials which will prove in time to save money on energy bills and reduce the carbon footprint of family living. I look forward to seeing people and families move into the properties and enjoy them as real homes as well as architectural landmarks."

Scotland's Housing Expo, the first event of its kind in Scotland, opened to the public on August 1st and tomorrow (Tuesday 31) will be its final day. It showcases house designs of the future - homes which will form a permanent community on the site - and aims to make good design and sustainable features commonplace in every home. The Expo is based on similar models found in mainland Europe, particularly Finland, where historically the housing fair concept has proven very successful in stimulating quality design and innovation for housing. The Scottish Government is supporting the project as it contributes to the implementation of several policy areas in support of a Greener, Smarter, Safer and Stronger Scotland. Up to 400 people have been employed on site in the lead-up to the event.

Visitors, including school groups, housing professionals, local authority and housing association representatives, as well as members of the public, have attended the Expo from right across Scotland and the UK, including Wales, Surrey, Bristol and Somerset. Overseas visitors from Australia, France, Norway, Finland and Ireland are also among visitors.

The First Minister first visited the site of Scotland's Housing Expo on July 27.

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