More For Your Money: Noel Park And The Scotch Estate, London, N22

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The Independent Online

One typical and one distinctly atypical period housing estate occupy either side of Lordship Lane, in Wood Green, north London.

Noel Park, to the south, is a planned complex of more than 2,000 units built to provide affordable housing for workers and clerks. Five distinct classes of house were constructed, to designs favouring turrets, arches and porthole windows. The roads were laid out in a grid and named - Ashley, Pelham, Farrant, Hewitt and Lymington - after directors of the housing company. The local council bought the entire estate, now a conservation area, in the 1960s, and many houses are now privately owned.

Across Lordship Lane is the Scotch Estate, with interwar properties as well as bay-fronted Victorian and Edwardian houses. "The Scotch Estate is not a conservation area, and many properties have been extended," says Frank Browne of Cousins estate agents. "It is the most sought-after part of Wood Green, except for Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill, which are much more expensive." Road names pay homage to the towns of Scotland: Dunbar, Leith, Berwick, Fife, Paisley, Perth and Stirling.

Now living slightly north of Wood Green, Joseph and Maria Enders had eight good years in the Scotch Estate, and credit it with enabling them to move up the property ladder. When they relocated from Ireland to London eight years ago, this part of Wood Green was appealing because of its affordability, good transport links and proximity to both of their families.

"It is a very good area," says Joseph. "We had lovely neighbours. The houses on the Scotch Estate were solidly constructed, and our house had nice high ceilings. We left only because it was time for us to move up to the next bracket. When we bought our house in the Scotch Estate, it needed fixing up, and we sold it recently at a good price. We took the same approach with our new house, which needs work."

Is Wood Green as rough as its reputation? "We never had any problems; our car was never broken into, that sort of thing," Joseph replies. "This area attracts young people who have moved out of a flat and have now bought their first house. It also has people who moved in 15 to 20 years ago, never moved on and never will. It even has people who have lived here all their lives. Some are in their eighties. Static populations are good. These people look after their houses."

What do you get for your money?

"Houses in the Scotch Estate cost about £15,000 more than in Noel Park," says Patrick Coyne of Douglas Allen Spiro. "Professionals are more likely to prefer the Scotch Estate over Noel Park, although homes in both sell as soon as they come to market if realistically priced."

OK, what's the bottom line in Noel Park?

Two-bed terraces sell for between £175,000 and £250,000. A two-bedder on Gladstone Avenue has a small kitchen and no dining-room but two decent-sized bedrooms, a stunning arched entry and, at £174,950, a tempting price tag. A two-bedder on Pelham Road has two receptions and a plain façade for £224,950, whereas another similar in size with bay windows is £244,950; all at Hane estate agents. The local residents' association says that the current population is about 5,670 in 3,000 homes.

And the Scotch Estate?

A two-bed, two-reception terrace with a modest paved rear garden in a classic bay-fronted Victorian house on Dunbar Rod is £219,000. A three-bed, two-reception Victorian house with landscaped garden and raised deck on Forfar Road is asking at least £275,000. A plain-fronted five-bed end-of-terrace has been extended and has two receptions, a conservatory and an attached garage, at £349,000; all at Douglas Allen Spiro.

How's the transport?

Wood Green Piccadilly Line station on Lordship Lane is convenient for Noel Park and the Scotch Estate. It is three stops north of Finsbury Park, for connections to the Victoria Line and national rail service to the City.

How's the shopping?

Both estates are on the eastern edge of the large Wood Green shopping centre, and another large centre is just up the A10 in Enfield. Wood Green has many ethnic restaurants, and a wide array of trendy restaurants and bars can be found nearby in Crouch End and Muswell Hill.

And the parks?

Lordship Recreation Ground and Downhills Park are big local parks, and Alexandra Park, with its palace, pond and ice rink, is nearby. In Noel Park, a large green borders Russell Avenue; New River Sports Centre adjoins the Scotch Estate.

How are the local schools?

Noel Park Primary on Gladstone Avenue scores 20 to 30 per cent below the national average in English, maths and science, but English is not the first language for many pupils. Lordship Lane primary is only about 10 per cent below the national average. White Hart Lane secondary scored 33 per cent in 2004, 21 points below the national average but much better than the 10 per cent it got in 2001.

Cousins, 020-8340 8240; Douglas Allen Spiro, 020-8365 7222; Hane, 020-8342 9858; Wilkinson Byrne, 020-8888 0022