News & Media

Swift move for a special summer ahead of medical centre opening


Our work on Tonbridge’s new medical centre has incorporated an added extra – to care for some of the town’s favourite birds as well as local patients.

Construction of the state-of-the-art new facility on the site of the former Teen and Twenty club has added swift boxes to offer additional nesting space for a nearby colony, after a request from Tonbridge Swift Group.

Six boxes have been installed for the birds, which arrive from Southern Africa to nest here in early May and pair for life – returning to the same nesting site year after year.


Construction of the medical centre was temporarily paused by local contractors Jenner to ensure safe working practices under social distancing – but has since restarted, with sights now set on an autumn opening to patients.

Our Senior Development Manager, Jon Webb, said: “We’re delighted at how the team has risen to the challenge of finding safe ways to restart works so that we can get this building completed and into use for the NHS as quickly as possible. And at a time when we all need some good news, it’s lovely that this will not only become a home for Tonbridge Medical Group, but also – we hope – a new home for local swifts.”

Martin Garwood, from the High Weald Swift Group, said: “Sadly, the number of swifts returning to nest in the town is in steady decline but the provision of special nesting places for them can and does make a real difference. Assura has set a great example for other developers to follow in helping to keep this wonderful bird in our summer skies.”

The new centre, being built by local contractors Jenner Group, sits on River Lawn Road and will replace the practice’s Pembury Road and Higham Lane sites with one purpose-built, modern building. It will allow Tonbridge Medical Group to better serve the growing list of patients using its ageing premises, which don’t have the space needed and currently limit the services the practice can provide.

Dr Tim Palmer from the practice said: “In this year when primary care has been so key to the national response to coronavirus, moving our work into a building that will allow us to grow the range of community-based services for our patients has perhaps never been so important. They day when we can open the doors to our patients will be a real milestone for our community after the support we’ve all shown each other.”

New CGI images have been created to give patients a look at the inside for the first time at the centre’s flexible waiting area. The building will have a range of consulting and treatment rooms, a self-contained minor procedures and treatment suite, a pharmacy and an ambulance bay.

The new centre will be less reliant on fossil fuels than the old buildings, generating much of its own power via solar panels on the roof and using measures such as air-source heat pumps to help reduce energy usage and so running costs.