High Street 2012

The London Olympic buildings are flying up with incredible speed and the park which will be left behind after the Games promises to be stunning. But beyond the venues and the transport infrastructure, evidence of legacy is harder to find. Many 'legacy' initiatives are simply repackaged plans or - as in the case of Forest Hill swimming pool - much-needed projects being hurried through in time to hit the 2012 deadline.

One notable exception to this is the High Street 2012 project being run by Tower Hamlets and Newham Councils, which aims to maximise the regenerative benefits of the work by rennovating their local high-streets, improving their look and feel to attract more tourists in the short-term and strengthen communities and attract investment in the longer-term. Here's what they're going to do, from Whitechapel to Bow:

- Decluttering
Improving the street�s visual appeal and coherence

- Historic building enhancements
Restoring and improving the historic fabric of the street and reusing abandoned or partly vacated buildings

- Lighting strategy
Defining a unified system for lighting the High Street�s carriageways and pavements, historical assets and special spaces

- Green thread
Introducing new trees and planting, green roofs and walls

- Street surfaces and cycleway Improving the material quality of the street and, in the longer term, forming a new �cycleway�

- Wayfinding
Aiding the intuitive use of the street and wider-scale movement

- Community projects
Keeping the community involved in delivering the High Street 2012 project and celebrating its history and cultures

The strategy is simple and is based on many of the principles Brockley Central has been banging the drum for in Lewisham: get rid of the clutter and invest a bit of money in improving the quality of our main streets. Remove railings, repair pavement, regulate parking, enforce conservation area guidelines on our high streets and increase street trees and planting.

Lewisham Council does some of these things, of course, but not in such a coherent and way and not with any particular deadline in mind.

We're not an Olympic borough, but Lewisham has been trumpeting its status as a "gateway borough" for 2012. Currently, the stated five point plan for attracting a slice of Olympic action includes "improvements to Lewisham Town Centre" and the "development of Convoy's Wharf." Even in the most optimistic scenario, neither of these will be complete by 2012. But in a year or two, simple things could be done that would make a huge difference: pavements could be relaid, planters installed, shop fronts improved, rusting railings, street signs and furniture could be removed completely.

If Lewisham really wants some trickle down benefits from the Olympics, then it needs to follow Tower Hamlets and Newham's lead by creating a high-quality environment in all of its key centres. But we need to hurry.