AN architect and owner of one of Finnieston's most popular restaurants has developed an ingenuous idea to kick-start the restaurant economy.

John Macleod, who set up favourite Crabshakk in 2009 and who is an architect of 40 years experience, has written to Glasgow Lord Provost with a scheme to take eateries outside onto Argyle Street.

In an open letter published on social media, John appeals to Philip Braat to give the council's backing to his ambitious proposal.

The scheme, dubbed Finnieston Green, would see a section of Argyle Street closed and used to house a giant greenhouse-like structure.

This would allow diners to sit outside - and ensure the future of restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

John said he has canvassed support from local businesses and has received "enthusiastic support" from many. 

In his letter, John writes: "The climate crisis will focus attention away from fossil fuels and we need to consider the way ahead for cars and other transport. 

"An increase in walking and cycling seems inevitable beyond the current lockdown.

"With this in mind the public realm may need to operate in a different way and expand for more public usage with less space for cars.

"If we can not use what is inside as much - maybe we need to claim more space outside. 

"Roads may then be repurposed for a public good. 

"If social distancing becomes the norm at least for a period - and may cyclically come and go - then we need to have plans to mitigate the commercial damage from local to global."

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He goes on to explain his solution.

John adds: "Big covered spaces are everywhere but are underused and under developed in this country. 

"The Scottish climate makes weather cover essential for an expanded public realm.

"Enjoyable inside/outside space increases the feeling of wellbeing and the public may come to expect the bigger spaces even for eating and drinking in future. 

"In the short term, small cramped space and enclosure - so important and enjoyable in pre-pandemic times - will take time to get back into the full confidence of the public. 

"So, if the public can not come in to see us, maybe we need to come out to see them. 

"This really is the heart of this project."

John's proposal would see Kelvingrove Street to Derby Street pedestrianised and covered over in the way of an outdoor market.

Traffic would be diverted on to Sauchiehall Street and the pavements would have rain cover.

His letter ends with an appeal to the Lord Provost to set up a meeting with the council and Finnieston restaurants. 

Speaking in his capacity as local councillor for the area, Philip said: “It is my intention to speak with the authors of the proposal, but it is far too early to make any final judgment.

"The authors of this initiative have laid some very good groundwork, but there are still a few significant hurdles to overcome, not least the statutory planning process, funding and wider community engagement with the local residential community and the local authority.

"Along with my fellow ward colleagues, I look forward to hearing more about these proposals and how far their discussions have been developed with the owners of the land, Glasgow City Council.”