Dispute over impact of new care facility at former Mary Feilding Guild

Residents at the Mary Feilding Guild home in Highgate 29.03.21.

Residents at the Mary Feilding Guild home in Highgate 29.03.21. - Credit: Polly Hancock

An assessment of the impact that a luxury Highgate care facility will have on a nearby property and flooding has been labelled "insufficient" by an urban masterplanner.

Highgate Care, run by Mitesh Dhanak, bought the former Mary Feilding Guild care home in North Hill in March 2021. It immediately announced it was to close, giving elderly residents less than three months to pack their bags.

The new 72-bed facility, The View, would provide short-term care for people of all ages recovering from operations, at a proposed £300-£400 a night. A spokesperson for Mitesh said it is "too early to confirm" prices per night. The developer hopes to build a 3m-deep basement as part of the project.

Designs for The View, to replace Mary Feilding Guild

Designs for The View, which could replace Mary Feilding Guild - Credit: Highgate Care

However, a Basement Impact Assessment (BIA) conducted by Soils Limited has been questioned by one expert.

Upon reading the BIA, Aurrell Taussig, who lives next door to the proposed development, became "concerned" when his Grade II-listed house was labelled as the most "sensitive building" to ground movements during excavation.

He enlisted the help of an expert in basement projects in London, Michael Coombs, director of Adam Baxter a design consultancy of structural and civil engineers.

Michael said the BIA is "generic" and not sufficiently detailed to be able to properly consider the groundwater issues of the site.

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He said: "The ground and groundwater conditions in this area of London are extremely complex and challenging – far more so than in boroughs like Westminster and Kensington, which have developed planning policies for basements that reflect the conditions in their boroughs. Haringey have no such policy."

He said the BIA's investigation into the groundwater using three boreholes was "insufficient" to establish the ground conditions and groundwater for a basement of this scale.

He wrote that "it is not possible, nor likely in my opinion, to be able to claim that this large basement, as proposed, will have no effect on the groundwater levels or groundwater flows within the claygate bed", which could lead to flooding.

A spokesperson for Highgate Care said: "The BIA has been prepared by suitably qualified and experienced geo-technical engineers and hydrologists and has been considered acceptable by the council’s building control team."

Soils Limited was contacted for comment.

A Haringey Council said the application is still under consideration and "as this is an open planning application, the council is unable to provide further comment".