Former Mary Feilding Guild care home redevelopment approved
Simon Allin, LDRS
- Credit: Highgate Care
Plans to build a 70-bed care home in Highgate have been approved despite neighbours’ fears it will block out sunlight and damage homes.
Highgate Care won permission to demolish the existing 42-bedroom former Mary Feilding Guild home in North Hill and build a new, larger facility during a meeting of Haringey Council’s planning subcommittee on Monday.
The three-to-four storey building, called The View, will provide 43 bedrooms for long-term care, including dementia and palliative care, and a 27-bedroom wellbeing and physiotherapy centre to help patients recover from surgery.
Neighbour Aurell Taussig told the meeting the development would be “devastating” for his grade 2-listed Georgian property. He said it would reduce the sunlight in his garden by more than 50% and warned basement excavation work could cause “serious damage” to his house and others.
Architect David Richmond, speaking on behalf of the Highgate Society, said the proposed development “should be unthinkable in any circumstances, let alone in a conservation area where the affected property is grade 2 listed”.
He said the scheme would also overshadow “at least half” of the council houses on an estate downhill from the site and called for its size to be reduced.
Neighbour David Sheinman said the scheme would cause an “unacceptable loss of privacy”.
Scott Emery, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Highgate, said the development appeared “rushed” and that residents felt “ignored and mistreated”.
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Applicant Mitesh Dhanak, founder and director of Highgate Care, rejected claims there would be an unacceptable impact on neighbours and said the scheme was supported by council officers and Historic England.
Planning consultant Neeraj Dixit said the team had put forward a “high quality” scheme that “responds carefully to the conservation area”, with a “modest and appropriate height”.
He said “ongoing assessments” would be undertaken to ensure the basement works were safe. A council officer said a construction management plan would address concerns.
A council officer said one garden would experience an increase in shade but the property would not lose “any noticeable amount” of sunlight to its rooms.
Eight councillors voted to approve the application, with none voting against and Labour’s Nicola Bartlett abstaining.
In March 2021 Highgate Care, which had bought the site from the Mary Feilding Guild, sparked outrage when it gave residents less than three months to move out. High-profile former residents included novelist Diana Athill and socialist campaigner Hetty Bowe