Architect: Eric Lyons

Punch Croft
New Ash Green, Kent

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This three-bedroom end-of-terrace house with a private garden and a ‘workshop’ garage, is quietly situated on the Punch Croft estate in the renowned village of New Ash Green in Kent. Built to a design by Eric Lyons in 1968, it is a great example of a type ‘K’ house.

Entered through a porch, the house has a large living room with floor-to-ceiling glazing, a separate kitchen, dining room, and a WC on the ground floor. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, one with a Cathedral ceiling, and a good-sized family bathroom. The private rear garden has direct access to the ‘workshop’ garage.

The interior of this particular house retains much of Lyons’ original fittings, most notably the wooden units in the kitchen, having been preserved by the current owner. As with the best of Span’s developments, large windows let in lots of light whilst granting views over the carefully considered private garden and communal spaces of the estate.

New Ash Green is a remarkable, and largely undiscovered, village in the Kent countryside that was almost entirely built in the late 1960s / early 1970s. It is a large village with a range of shops and services (a bank, a small supermarket, library and a doctor’s surgery), and extensive green spaces including a beautiful village green, some communal orchards, fields and woodland.

Approximately 50% of the housing stock in the village was built by Span, a company that is widely considered to be the finest developer of the post-war period. Span, who largely employed the architect Eric Lyons for their projects, had a strong belief in excellence in their housing design and, just as importantly, the landscaping and environment in which the houses were placed.

New Ash Green is well located for train services into London and for access to the motorway network. Longfield (approximately 2 miles) is the closest station and runs services to Victoria in 30 minutes. Ebbsfleet (approximately 6 miles) runs services to St. Pancras in 18 minutes.

There are a number of renowned Grammar schools in Kent (Dartford, Gravesend, Wilmington) as well as numerous private schools. New Ash Green itself has a well-regarded primary school. Beyond New Ash Green, further shops and services can be found at Bluewater Shopping Centre (approximately 5 miles) and Sevenoaks (approximately 10 miles).

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


History

Between 1948 and 1984 the development company Span built 30 housing estates across the UK. New Ash Green is perhaps the most ambitious of the Span projects. The company designed and built approximately half of all the houses in the village and did much of the design of the village environment.

In 1962, as part of the process of seeking planning permission, a document entitled ‘A new village near Hartley Kent, New Ash Green’ explained the fundamental intentions of the new village:

“This is an outline proposal to design and build an entirely new kind of village in attractive surroundings with all appropriate services and communal facilities for between five to six thousand people… One of the inherent qualities of the traditional English village is a sense of freedom in the surrounding countryside and the enclosed open greens, or spaces. In New Ash Green a compact and well defined village is proposed, embedded in the surrounding countryside… The architectural quality of the village will be achieved by a close relationship between buildings and landscape.”

The houses are a mixture of types, the largest of which is a the ‘KL’ where, as Span said in a 1968 brochure, “the accent is on luxury, both in the spaciousness of the house… and in generous open ‘linked’ grouping of houses in the neighbourhood layout”.


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Eric Lyons

Having worked for Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry, Eric Lyons (1912-1980) co-founded the development company Span in 1948, along with Geoffrey Townsend and Leslie Bilsby. Lyons’s Span houses are all about space and light, and blurring the edges between outside and indoor space. He paid great attention to the surrounding landscape, designing and building properties around existing splendid mature trees and creating communal areas that encourage residents to mix. An early Span publication summarises the origin of the name: “It spans the gap between the suburban monotony of the typical ‘spec building’ and the architecturally designed individually built residence.” Outside of his Span work, Lyons carried out a number of other schemes, including public housing for World’s End in Chelsea. He was appointed President of the RIBA in the 1970s.

Key Residential Projects
Estate in Buckinghamshire
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