Varsity Rise, Grimoldby

Vickers Varsity training aircraft were based at RAF Manby in the 1950’s

Varsity Rise is an ecological affordable housing project of twelve properties in the East Lindsey District six miles from the east coast of Lincolnshire at Middlegate Meadows, Grimoldby. The project completed in 2009 is noticeable by its eye catching contemporary design with a layout that makes each of the properties look unique.

Built on a derelict garage area at a former RAF site the name of the project ‘Varsity Rise’ was chosen by a pupil at the local school after the Vickers Varsity aircraft which operated from the airbase. A time capsule was buried to mark the occasion at the project’s opening.  What makes the properties so special is that they are built to a very high energy efficient and environmentally friendly standard, and were the first homes thought to use individually metered communal biomass technology and achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The project was the winner of an East Midlands Constructing Excellence award.

The properties are sited along a one way road that also acts as a sustainable drainage system (SuDS). With pinch points and ramps in the road to slow vehicles, a living street has been created which ‘puts people first’. On sunny evenings children play safely amongst a vibrant rural community.

The Credentials of Varsity Rise


tickA logical considered layout that promotes a safe and communal environment in which to live – offering both natural surveillance to public spaces and privacy to private areas;

tickA shared surface road system which blurs the boundaries between space for the vehicle and space for the pedestrian – This approach automatically encourages drivers to slow down and be more aware of activities happening around them, whilst still offering a functional space for the vehicle. On street parking on raised tables is encouraged to promote the creation of ‘natural hazards’ which further slow down traffic – an effective alternative to restricted passing or speed humps;

tickAn eye-catching contemporary design with variation in massing and orientation across the development – not a typical development where the only difference is the colour of the brick or the number on the door;

tickA palette of top quality but low maintenance external materials that complement the contemporary form; and

tickPorous surfacing to the street helps to control storm water as part of a sustainable drainage system (SUDS).


tickLogical and functional internal layouts;

tickVaulted ceilings will create indoor spaces that are light, airy and spacious;

tickUse of quality materials and fittings that complement the design of the dwellings and offer good long-term performance;

tickBuilt using the latest technologies in off-site construction to ensure thermal performance that far exceeds the requirements of Building Control;

tickA development with minimal environmental impact. Just by living in these houses, the occupants have already reduced their carbon footprint – not to mention heating bills!Varsity rise

Technological / Ecological Features:

tickCommunal biomass boiler, low carbon heating, lower cost compared to gas;

tickSolar thermal panels, free! hot water;

tickMVHR making use of heat naturally produced in the home which preheats fresh air without opening windows;

tickSIPS / Timber frame – FSC, air tightness, low energy usage. Timber windows and doors also FSC standard;

tickFirst floor screed provides thermal mass which stores heat in the winter and assists with cooling in the summer;

tickCode for Sustainable Homes Level 4, all round environmentally sound standards;

tickSecured by Design, secure standard will assist with security and potentially insurance costs;

tickSouth orientation takes full advantage of solar gain. Use of natural daylight will help to reduce lighting costs

tickSuper insulation produces low heat loss;

tickSolar thermal shading on bedroom windows to reduce unwanted solar gain in summer;

  • Hedgerow around site, ecological benefits and enhances security; and

tickSUDS road acts as holding tank in order to attenuate surface water run-off and therefore flood risk.

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