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"The pavements have come up, and the old plastic shop signs have come down. Flower baskets have broken out like a rash. The handsome Edwardian library now lights up at night – 'changing coloured lights!' Solomons said in wonder. The scuffed black facade of the locksmiths goes next week: Plaha showed with pride the architect's designs for a bottle-green traditional cornershop front, as smart as any West End wine bar.
"The Olympics authority did the pavements and street furniture, and the council spent £475,000, from the government's Working Neighbourhoods fund, completely restoring the facades of 41 shops, jetwashing Victorian brick, restoring or replacing traditional features, and excavating stucco decoration and marble columns from under layers of plastic and chip-board."