More For Your Money: Seven Kings, IG3

Low-level living for families
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The Independent Online

Spacious outside as well as in, some have more than five bedrooms, with massive lounges and kitchens. Gardens well in excess of 100ft are not unusual, and as the plots are wide as well as long, even gardens of between 30 and 50ft are also uncommonly spacious. The properties tend to be set well back from the road.

Seven Kings was developed and populated when land was both abundant and cheap. It had a rail line as far back as the 1830s, but this agricultural area had cows, not commuters.

Around the turn of the century, passenger rail service and property development occurred in tandem. Initially, two-storey bay-fronted terraces sprouted, mostly north of the station. The bungalow estate to the south was built between 1919 and 1939. "It was for city clerks and the lower-middle class," says Ian Dowling, a local historian for Redbridge borough council. "The houses had to be large because some of the original families would have had servants. The estate was originally surrounded by farmland, and it was so isolated it was nicknamed the Klondike."

The isolation gradually eased as the estate itself grew and its neighbouring farms became residential. But low density remained a majority priority. Developers William Henry Knox and John William Moore did not have to provide public open spaces or community facilities. Large public parks already bordered the estate, and the car-owning residents could motor to Ilford to fulfil their retail urges. They still do.

Although not perfectly preserved, Mayfield was spared the worst of makeover mania. According to Redbridge conservation officer James Hetherington: "The estate had been threatened by people turning them into houses, especially during the 1970s. They were adding big dormers, and the bungalow appearance was being lost. In 1991 it was designated a conservation area, and more restrictive regulations apply."

What do flats cost?

Outside the estate, a one-bed first-floor flat with loft room in a bay-fronted period conversion on Elgin Road near the station is £140,000. A two-bed in a purpose-built four-storey block is £149,995. Both at Spicer McColl.

What about houses?

In the catchment area of Seven Kings High School, a three-bed terrace with a fourth bedroom in the loft is £285,000. A house currently arranged as two flats is £325,000 at SKPS. A bay-fronted mid-terrace two-storey period house is £220,000 at Hansons. A triple-fronted stone-built two-storey semi with five double bedrooms and outdoor games room is £650,000 at Hansons.

What about bungalows?

A detached bungalow with four bedrooms, two/three receptions, garage, several off-street parking spaces across the entire front of the house, and a 120ft garden is £580,000. A three-bed one-reception 1930s semi has an even larger garden (170ft), £319,995; both at Seven Kings Property Services. A five-bed two-reception bungalow with small garden and car parking in the front is £460,000 at Spicer McColl.

Are the bungalows all alike?

The bungalows vary in appearance. The developers catered for the preferences of individual customers, and were also responsive to broader economic conditions. Thus, Egerton Road and Park Way, which were developed in the middle period, have many chalet-style detached bungalows on large plots. Trenance Road and Brownlea Road were developed later, when war was approaching, and economic pressures were building. These roads have more semi-detached bungalows on smaller plots. North of the estate, small period terraces, 1930s houses and modern flats are also available.

How's the transport?

Seven Kings station is five stops from Stratford (soon to be a Eurostar station and a major Olympics hub) and six to Liverpool Street. Northern Seven Kings is convenient for Newbury Park underground station (zone 4) on the Central Line.

How do the schools perform?

South Park Primary on Water Lane is between four and eight points below the national average in English, maths and science. Nearby on Benton Road, St Aidan's Catholic Primary is a few points above average in English and science, and only one point below in maths. Above average are Seven Kings High School, under esteemed headteacher Sir Alan Steer (30 points), and Canon Palmer Catholic secondary (15 points).

What about the great outdoors?

Tennis courts, lakes, bowling greens and playing fields are abundant in parks scattered throughout Seven Kings. Nearby are Epping Forest and the 10,000-acre Lee Valley Regional Park with its urban green spaces, heritage sites, country parks, nature reserves and riverside trails. The 300-acre Hainault Forest Country Park has a fishing lake, rare-breeds farm, walks and bridleways. Hainault Forest Golf Course is adjacent to the park.

And one for the pub quiz

Where do bungalows originally come from?

In India, English officials lived in one-storey houses with verandas. The term is an anglicised form of the Hindi word "bangla".

Estate agents:
Hansons, 020-8590 1222
Spicer McColl 020-8597 2777
Seven Kings Property Services 020-8586 1339