A collection of all my published work.

UK's 'best record shop' is tucked away in this corner of South London

A London record shop has been awarded best independent retailer in the UK for the second year in a row - and it's owned by a local councillor. Banquet Records on Kingston's Eden Street is owned by Cllr Jon Tolley, who was awarded the prestigious Music Week award on September 14. Big names such as The Who, Stormzy, Bastille and Vampire Weekend have all played gigs organised by Banquet Records at venues in Kingston over the years. With more than 61,000 followers on Twitter, 59,200 on Instagram

London's fly-tipping crisis hits rock bottom as toilet dumped in street

A fly-tipper has dumped a toilet on a South London street as the capital's councils continue to lose their battle against rubbish. The toilet appeared yesterday on Freshford Street in Summerstown, Wandsworth - casting more doubt over the council's control over fly-tipping in the area. The surprisingly clean-looking toilet is missing it's back lid and is facing away from the road. Wandsworth Council issued more than 3,600 fines for littering and fly-tipping offences from April 2020 to March 20

London luxury town in shadow of Sky Pool still years from being finished

A new London neighbourhood in the shadow of the Sky Pool is still years away from being completed - but locals don't seem to mind. Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station developments are home to modern flats, Apple's six-floor UK HQ and the US Embassy, with two Northern line stations opening on September 20. It comes as the 42-acre eight-phase Battersea Power Station development is not expected to be completed until 2030, with One Nine Elms on schedule for completion from early 2023 onwards. T

South London Labour MP resigns from shadow cabinet post

A South London MP has resigned as a shadow minister as she wants to focus more of her "time and efforts" on the residents of Battersea. Labour's Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary, announced her resignation from the shadow cabinet via Twitter on September 14. The MP's resignation will mean the role will need to be filled by Labour leader Keir Starmer as soon as possible. The Labour leader has thanked her for her service on "highlighting the disproportionate impact Co

Mum, 44, with chest pains waited 18 months for heart check at hospital

A South London mother claims she had to wait 18 months to be seen by in hospital after experiencing chest pain and a fast heart rate. It comes as more than 3,000 people have waited more than four months to be treated at Kingston Hospital, despite the hospital slashing its patient backlog. Kingston resident Samantha Banton claims she waited over a year for an ECG after missing a referral in 2019 and then the "disorganised" trust lost her results. She told The Local Democracy Reporting Service:

Plan for 5G mast near Richmond Park blocked as council calls it 'intrusive'

Plans for an "intrusive" 20 metre tall 5G mast near Richmond Park and a London university have been blocked. CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd wanted the phone-signal boosting mast, along with three storage cabinets, to be built on Roehampton Vale, next to Kingston University London's Roehampton Vale Campus. But Wandsworth Council said the mast would harm the character and appearance of the street as well as creating clutter which could be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. The authority sa

Kingston hospital slashes patient backlog as thousands wait months for treatment

A South London hospital has slashed its patient backlog - but thousands have still waited more than four months to be treated. The 18-week backlog at Kingston Hospital fell from 4,873 to 3,098 between April and July, and the non-18 week backlog dropped from 3,500 to 2,600 patients. The number of patients waiting over 52 weeks for hospital treatment at the trust also fell from 227 to 71 between April and July this year. Kingston Hospital has been able to combat the long waiting lists caused by

Richmond plans for 'unacceptable' 5G mast slapped down after local fury

Plans for an "unacceptable" 18 metre tall 5G mast in Richmond have been slapped down by the council. Applicant Thomas Gallivan wanted the phone-signal boosting mast, along with three storage cabinets, to be built on Station Road in Hampton. But Richmond Council said the height, bulk and "inappropriate design" would cause harm to the character of Hampton Village Green as well as being dangerous for residents. A council document said: "By virtue of the proposal's combines inappropriate design,

Tube extension won't reach Clapham Junction - but locals wish it was

The Northern line extension to Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms will open on September 20 - but some residents wish it was extended to Clapham Junction. The busy station is a hub for Overground and national rail services but doesn't have a London Underground connection. The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands expensive tunnelling, the complexity of the project and the length of time it would have taken to build has meant the move is not viable for Transport for London to carry o

Historic 1950s estate that will be bulldozed for posh new homes

Plans to bulldoze a "scruffy" 1950s estate and replace it with 193 homes, a new GP surgery and pharmacy in South London are under way - and locals have mixed feelings. Wandsworth Council is redeveloping the site on Garratt Lane in Earlsfield by knocking down the old shops, flats, GP surgery and pharmacy, with many residents excited for the upgrade. But some locals fear there will be a lack of parking and more congestion in the area. While pharmacists are concerned they will lose money during t

These South London estates have new CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers

New CCTV cameras will be installed on ten estates in Kingston to catch fly-tippers. The sensors will activate when motion is detected in areas that have persistent fly tipping problems. It has also been revealed that more enforcement officers will be joining the council soon in a bid to combat fly-tipping as the pandemic has caused incidents to increase. The cameras are able to take pictures that are sent to an enforcement officers for review. If fly-tipping is found, then action will be tak

Kingston petition to save leisure centre from bulldozers nears 1,400 mark

Almost 1,400 South London residents have signed a petition to stop their beloved leisure centre from being bulldozed down by the council. It comes as the Kingfisher Leisure Centre was given the green light to be knocked down and eventually rebuilt by Kingston Council last week, leaving locals furious. The controversial decision, which led to one Liberal Democrat councillor resigning, also prompted one resident to start a petition to stop it being knocked down. The online petition has so far b

Kingston councillor resigns in fury over Kingfisher Leisure Centre plans

A Kingston councillor has quit the Lib Dems over concerns about "dishonest" plans for a local leisure centre. The Liberal Democrat councillor will now sit as an Independent Liberal Democrat after a row over the future of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre. The leisure centre was given the green light to be bulldozed and eventually rebuilt by Kingston Council. But Grove ward councillor Jon Tolley tweeted that the decision was "not deliverable and dishonest". He tweeted: "I have withdrawn from the K

Two new London Underground stations are now just days away from opening

Residents in South London are excited for two new London Underground stations to open - but wish the Northern line was being extended even further. The Northern line extension to Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms will open on September 20. The £1 billion transport investment has been over 10 years in the making and will run from Kennington station on the Charing Cross branch. Mitch Edwards, a resident of Nine Elms, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "I'm personally pretty excited

Kingston councillor slams residents for treating him like 'scum of the earth'

A South London councillor has slammed a local residents group for treating elected members like "the scum of the earth". Jon Tolley, a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Grove Ward in Kingston, tweeted on Sunday that the Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG) were a "disgrace" and urged locals to look elsewhere to help their community. He tweeted: “'Councillors are ordinary people' they say while treating councillors like the scum of the earth. KIRG are a disgrace and ordinary people sho

What life is like in posh London town named the 'best place to live'

A wealthy suburb in leafy South West London has been named the best place to live in London for 2021. Teddington was given the title by The Sunday Times' Best Places to Live guide. The leafy Richmond borough suburb features stunning homes, great public transport, glorious green spaces and rivers as well as quaint cafés and restaurants. The Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to locals in Teddington to find out what life is really like there. Beaming locals revealed they think it's "got e

Bushy Park marksmen to shoot 80 deer dead amid fury over 'painful' killings

Animal rights campaigners have slammed deer culls in South London for shooting dead up to 80 deer leading to "horrifyingly painful deaths". It comes as the annual deer cull in Bushy Park started on Wednesday (September 1) and will last for six weeks - killing between 60 and 80 deer. Royal Parks say without population control the animals "would ultimately suffer". But animal campaigners PETA said there are more humane methods of culling the animal. Elisa Allen, PETA’s director told the Local D

Fury as brazen fly-tippers dump sofas on South London streets

Brazen fly-tippers have dumped two sofas on South London streets and locals are furious, branding them an "eye-sore". It comes as Richmond has been plagued with fly-tipping of late, with bags of stinking rubbish, empty boxes and wooden chairs left on street corners. One sofa was spotted on Waldegrave Road in Teddington with the other on Queens Road in Twickenham. Residents want more council money to be put in to general street cleaning around the borough and more bins. DearRichmond, a local

Kingston leisure centre will be bulldozed and locals are furious

Kingston families are furious about plans to bulldoze a beloved leisure centre in the town. The Kingfisher Leisure Centre has been given the green light to be knocked down and eventually rebuilt by Kingston Council. But locals say the council has failed to respect biodiversity and the impact of trucks and lorries. They have also complained about no full guarantee of a new leisure centre. READ MORE: Stacey Solomon reveals £50 DIY hack that transformed her incredible kitchen The leisure centre

Clapham's Winterville festival is cancelled again but nobody will say why

Clapham Common's Winterville festival has been cancelled for the third year in a row as organisers withdrew their application - but the reason why remains a mystery. Winterville organisers initially applied for permission in 2021 after a run of cancellations. The first cancellation in 2019 was done as organisers wanted to take a break, then in 2020 the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: “Winterville has not run at Clapham Common since 201
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