More For Your Money: Stroud Green, N4

Parks, palace and pizza
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The Independent Online

Stroud Green is slowly losing its anonymity. Nestled between two communities with strong identities - trendy Crouch End and downmarket Finsbury Park - this north London district is inching toward gentrification. New ethnic restaurants are replacing fast food shops and launderettes, and community groups are trying to spruce the place up.

Stroud Green is slowly losing its anonymity. Nestled between two communities with strong identities - trendy Crouch End and downmarket Finsbury Park - this north London district is inching toward gentrification. New ethnic restaurants are replacing fast food shops and launderettes, and community groups are trying to spruce the place up.

Nevertheless, Stroud Green is still primarily a dormitory community with an abundance of period homes and excellent communications, although many locals have to take a bus to and from Finsbury Park station.

In compensation, that station offers service on two underground lines and also has mainline service to the City. From the station, buses fan out to all parts of Stroud Green.

Little more than a decade ago, Stroud Green locals had all the doner kebabs they wanted at their doorstep, whereas fancier fare usually meant a trip uphill to upmarket Crouch End. Now, after an influx of young professionals and Islington wannabes, the area has its own decent eateries.

They helped lure Cheryl Pilliner-Reeves, 30, an environment architect who runs her own practice, from Archway to a two-bed flat near Finsbury Park seven years ago.

"I was attracted primarily by the park and the restaurants, especially the Thai restaurant Cats. There was a good variety of restaurants when I first moved here, and more have opened since. You always feel welcome in these places."

The N4 postcode is mostly in the borough of Haringey, but it also encompasses wisps of Islington and Hackney. The area around the train station and Seven Sisters Road is rough and ready, but Pilliner-Reeves remains undaunted.

"I've never had any problems, and even when I take the last Tube at night, there are always other people around, including women," she says. "I always feel fine here."

Pilliner-Reeves praises the area's social mix: "Stroud Green is between many other up-and-coming neighbourhoods and has a nice environment, a combination of families and young people, and social housing.

"The social housing is well-scaled and well-sited alongside large houses and smaller flats, so there is no overwhelming imbalance." She estimates that her flat has more than tripled in value since she bought it.

What's available for first-timers?

Prices are lowest towards the Hackney Borough side of Stroud Green, and highest near Crouch End. Private and former council studios and one-bed flats start from £100,000 on or near Seven Sisters Road, but three-bed ex-council flats can top £200,000.

What about homes for young couples and families?

Well-located two-bed flats start from £150,000. Period houses from small to medium to large are available, from £300,000 to more than £800,000 for between five and eight bedrooms. A three-bed flat in the popular Mount View Road in the heart of Stroud Green can cost more than a larger period house near Manor House.

What's the transport like?

Finsbury Park station is on the Piccadilly and Victoria underground lines, and WAGN service to King's Cross and Moorgate. WAGN's Harringay station is convenient for the section of Stroud Green north of Finsbury Park.

What about the Barking-Gospel Oak line?

Half-way between Crouch End and Finsbury Park is the Crouch Hill station on the Barking-Gospel Oak line. The service is valuable for commuters, who go to Gospel Oak and change to the North London line for Willesden Junction, Richmond and Stratford.

How green is Stroud Green?

The 115-acre Finsbury Park - home to the Fleadh, London's biggest outdoor Irish music festival - is undergoing a £5m facelift, which will include dredging the lake and renovating play areas. The refurbishment also includes work to a section of Parkland Walk. The large Stationer's Park (a green-flag winner) and tennis courts straddle both sides of Weston Park.

Why does Parkland Walk ring a bell?

Parkland Walk is a nature trail between Finsbury Park and Highgate. Today the longest nature reserve in the capital, it occupies former railway track that once linked Finsbury Park with Alexandra Palace. Original train platforms still line part of the route.

What about shops and schools?

Stroud Green Road and Stapleton Hall Road boast numerous restaurants, including Yamina (Moroccan), Cats (Thai), The Triangle (North African), several good pizza joints, and curry houses (Jai Krishna is vegetarian). A Tesco is located on Stroud Green Road, and quality food and clothing shops are located in Crouch End and Muswell Hill. Nearby Holloway Road is lined with shops large and small.

And one for the pub quiz

What family is commemorated in the name Seven Sisters Road?

Answer: The name derives from seven elm trees planted in Tottenham by seven sisters in the 19th century.

Alan Harvey, 020-7281 3000; Martyn Gerard, 020-8348 5135; Tatlers, 020-8341 4050

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