Access Guide to Swirles Court

Last updated: August 2019

Swirles Court, Girton’s second site, is in the centre of Eddington, the University’s new development about 2.5 miles from the City Centre. There is a Porter on duty day and night throughout the year.,0.093298,15


Eddington itself is quiet, but the Huntingdon and Madingley Roads are very busy, especially at peak times.

Services and shops

There is a Sainsburys Supermarket and Argos pick up point  approximately  200m from Swirles Court, in the market square.

Other amenities:

  • Primary School
  • Café  – from October 2019
  • Community Centre
  • Nursery
  • Doctors Surgery – coming soon
  • Hotel – opening 2020
  • Public, green space and lands
  • Sports Facilities
  • Energy Centre
  • Public Art


Designated accessible parking is provided free on-site. There are four designated accessible bays in the Entrance Court, close to the main entrance and Porter’s Lodge, serving houses to the west and south of the site, and a further three to the rear car park.

Other transport options

There are frequent Uni buses to and from the city centre and Addenbrookes.

There is a zip car located on site.

325 mostly postgraduate students. Swirles Court  is mostly accessible, with 9 lifts and power assisted doors to the Porters’ Lodge. All rooms are en suite.

Two manual wheelchairs and one electric wheelchair are  available to borrow via the Porters.


No smoking anywhere on site.

Medical facilities

The College Health and Welfare Centre is at the main site. where two part-time nurses hold regular surgeries (tel. 01223 338937)  All Porters are first aiders and the Porters’ Lodge is the first aid post .  The nearest GP surgery is at 1, Huntingdon Rd. A Health centre is currently under construction at Eddington.

Emergency procedures

Advise Porters’ Lodge if you will need help evacuating in an emergency. Evacuation chairs are fitted as required by emergency evacuation plans where lift access is the norm and otherwise held at the lodge for use across the site. Where there are lifts, there are also refuges on each floor with communications back to the Porters’ Lodge.  Speak to the Head Porter regarding an individual evacuation plan.

Accommodation and Catering

The scheme provides 15 accessible en suite units including 14 designed to ‘lifetime homes’ standards and 1 Part M compliant.

Units are distributed around the site, with 1  accessible room per ‘house’. (4 units are on the upper floors of buildings without lifts.)

7 rooms, including the part M compliant room, are on the ground floor,

4  near to the porters’ lodge. 4 rooms are on the first floor with lift access.

4 units are on the upper floors of buildings without lifts.

The strategy for the design and distribution of rooms has been developed with the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE).

The part M compliant room has been designed following the ‘Wheelchair Accessible Housing – Best Practice Guide’ document (2008).

Features incorporated include:

  • Level entrances
  • Minimum communal corridor widths
  • A manoeuvring space of at least 1500 x 1800mm inside the entrance
  • Level circulation throughout the units
  • Entrance door opening widths of 800mm or 825mm where approach is not head on
  • Adequate clear opening widths of 800mm to all doors and circulation areas
  • A minimum 1100 x 1700mm space provided for wheelchair charging and storage

A hoist can be arranged in the Part M compliant room, if required.

All bathrooms are cleaned weekly and this is included in the residence charge. Toilet rolls are supplied.


Rooms can be adapted as required for hearing impaired students, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells and for other disabilities as necessary.

Live-in assistants and assistance dogs

Live-in assistants and dogs welcome but please discuss well in advance.

Early induction and vacation stays

Early induction encouraged. Staying over vacations is included in Graduate tenancies.

Undergraduates may stay through the Easter vacation without extra charge and over Christmas by permission (without additional charge).  Pastoral support for undergraduates is available only through the normal period of residence, not over the summer vacation, but speak to your tutor if you have any particular needs.

Catering arrangements

Swirles Court is self-catering. Kitchens are spacious, with low level cupboards, work surfaces are not height adjustable.  Kitchens are shared with up to 7 other users. Students are strongly encouraged to access the Girton Cafeteria and can have lunch at Robinson College at student rates.

A pop up supper is available at Swirles on Wednesday evenings.

There are vending machines at Swirles selling hot drinks and snacks.

Special diets

We aim to cater inclusively for all or most diets.  Allergens are labelled. Please speak to the Catering Manager about your individual requirements, so we can be sure we are catering correctly for you.

Swirles Court grounds in general

Flat access to the Porters’ Lodge, through automatic doors operated with a university card or push button. External gates are card or push button entry. House Access is also by university card or push button. Most areas level, well lit and accessible,  with some  accessible paths running around the edge of the site to minimise the rise and fall of ground. Travel between blocks is external, with no cover.  Mostly hard surfaces, some softer Cedec surface, but hard surface alternative always available. There are intercoms by the rear and side gates near the lodge.

College buildings in general

The main common area near the lodge is ground floor, spacious and accessible and comprises lodge (reception and first aid) laundry, and graduate common/study room. Stairs to the residential areas are well lit and have continuous handrails and contrasting nosings on steps.

Computer facilities

All rooms have wireless and wired ethernet access.


All the courtyards are accessible with the exception of the grassed courtyard outside B block which has a 50cm unfenced drop from the path at one end and a 50cm rise at the other. There are easygoing steps (without handrails) at the bottom end allowing access to the grass. There is a temporary ramp available for marquee events. Gardens are mostly level and accessible, with many benches. There are allotment strips on site and the top and bottom strips would be accessible from a wheelchair.


The Laundry is at ground floor level and accessible with 5 low level washing machines and 5 high level and one low level tumble drier. Machines can be booked from your room via a phone app. There is an adapted WC near the porters’ lodge for laundry and common room users.

MCR Common Room / Study area

Ground level access. Flooring all hard surface. Spacious, light, with moveable  workspaces/ seating areas. Screen, projector available. Blind cords are at high level to comply with anti-ligature safety guidelines, so porter assistance may be required for operation (Lodge is staffed 24/7)

Porters’ Lodge and post

Lodge counter is approx. 850mm high with knee space beneath. Hearing loop fitted.  Post is placed in secure pigeonholes accessed via your university card. Pigeonholes can be reallocated if too high.


Gender neutral wheelchair accessible toilet near Porters’ Lodge and a second gender neutral toilet in the laundry area.

Visual Impairments

  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Adaptable Computer facilities
  • Large print, Braille and audio information available
  • Signs and wayfinding in place
  • Special hardware or software for visually impaired users could be acquired if necessary. Various software licences held.
  • Large print letters and information, and on coloured paper, on request. Touch readable and Braille buttons at intercoms.
  • Good, clear colour maps with contrasting fonts and clear signage.
  • Paths are well lit.

A Porter is on site 24/7 throughout the year, trained for emergency response and other College staff, such as the Graduate Administrator and the Accommodation Manager visit regularly.

There is a housekeeper on site on weekdays and 24 hour emergency maintenance via the porters’ lodge.

Induction loops

Portable loop available, but arrange in advance.


Rooms are  adapted as required for a hearing impaired students, with vibrating pillows and visual alarms and bells.

The College aims, where possible, to facilitate all  adjustments recommended on student support documents, including specific arrangements for exams, study skills support and mentoring (via the DRC) , extended library borrowing arrangements and lecture recording. Please speak to your Tutor if you have any difficulties in accessing support.

The College provides every student with a personal tutor to oversee their health and well being at Girton and direct them to professional support services as appropriate. Counselling services  are also available through the College. For comprehensive information  on support available please go to:

(Undergraduates) and





Find Us

Swirles Court

Pheasant Drive

t: +44 (0)1223 760021

Access Issues Contact

Maureen Hackett
Junior Bursar / Tutor / Disability Liaison Officer
t: +44 (0)1223 338891