'Betrayal': 'Premium' care facility lined up to replace Mary Feilding Guild

Residents at the Mary Feilding Guild home in Highgate 29.03.21.

A 70-unit facility is planned to replace Mary Feilding Guild - Credit: Polly Hancock

Plans for a “premium” care facility to replace the former Mary Feilding Guild have been blasted as a “betrayal” of the Highgate home’s legacy.  

Proposals have been published online for a 70-bed site in North Hill that would provide short-term care for people of all ages recovering from operations. A planning application has yet to be submitted.

Local MP Catherine West said the plans renege on the pledge for long-term care, while Highgate councillor Liz Morris claimed the new owner has “far more interest in profit than they do in looking after the local community”.  

Highgate Care, run by Mitesh Dhanak, bought the former Mary Feilding Guild site in March and immediately announced it was to close the historic care home, giving 16 residents aged between 85 and 104 less than three months to pack their bags. 

“First they kicked out elderly residents in the middle of a pandemic, now the new owners are going back on their promise to provide much-needed long term care on this important site,”  Catherine West told the Ham&High.

Resident Dr Jean Scott, 88, read a statement in front of her fellow residents

Dr Jean Scott, 88, outside Mary Feilding Guild before residents were moved out - Credit: Polly Hancock

“It’s a betrayal of the legacy of the Mary Feilding Guild and the hundreds of local people who backed the campaign to save it.” 

Plans posted online under the facility’s new name, The View, outline designs for a two-storey “community hub” in the 0.9-acre site including a hydrotherapy pool, gym, wellness centre and restaurant. 

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According to the timescale Highgate Care published online, this autumn should see the submission of a planning application, with works – if approved by the council – starting in summer 2022. The new facility would then open in winter 2024 if all goes to plan.

Highgate campaigners

Campaigners including Catherine West MP and Cllr Liz Morris (centre) fought to save the care home - Credit: Polly Hancock

Cllr Liz Morris (Lib Dem, Highgate) said: “Despite their name, it seems that Highgate Care have far more interest in profit than they do in looking after the local community.  

“It is increasingly clear that they never had any plans to provide a new, much-needed care home for the elderly, and are prioritising the provision of expensive, short-term care over the needs of Highgate residents.   

“Local residents will be rightfully outraged at these plans. They were promised that any new facility would provide care for the elderly. This is clearly not the case.” 

Cllr Morris said a “local development forum” was needed to put the plans “under the microscope”.

Mary Feilding Guild, in View Road

The View Road entrance to the former Mary Feilding Guild - Credit: Polly Hancock

The website Highgate Care has set up showing the plans for The View states that it will “deliver a convalescence model unique to London which has already seen great success in European countries such as Germany and Austria”.  

Claiming it is looking at offering some of its services to local residents, the website also states: “We have developed an ethos which puts residents first and are committed to making all our homes vibrant and enjoyable places to live.  

“We support residents’ welfare and lifestyle to provide the best possible quality of life for every resident and help them to convalesce in a supportive and luxurious setting with customised rehabilitation programmes.” 

In April, Highgate Care director Mitesh Dhanak told this newspaper: “Our intention remains to create a new home on the site, supporting the legacy of the Mary Feilding Guild and offering a high-quality care facility in Highgate.”