BUSINESS owners on Ashton Lane are calling for the area to be pedestrianised to be turned into a massive beer garden.

Paul Beveridge, owner of the Japanese restaurant Ramen Dayo!, said the measure would allow bars and restaurants to serve more people while obeying social distancing rules.

He said: “What we are really hoping for is that we can pedestrianise Ashton Lane temporarily. Right now, we can only fit three tables outside. Ashton Lane is seen as a street; people drive up and down it.

“If we could barricade it on either side, even say between the hours of 1pm-10pm, and we could put tables in the lane, then Ashton Lane would essentially become a big beer garden. It means we can all be responsible for social distancing in our area.

“That would be really useful for us and would bring a bit of a buzz to the lane. Right now, it is a ghost town – 80% of the places are boarded up.

“Even if it were until October or Christmas it would really help to bring people back to the lane. Usually, we have students cutting through, but nobody is walking down now. People aren’t really travelling through the lane.”

Oli Norman, owner of Brel, a popular bar on Ashton Lane, has been campaigning for the space to be pedestrianised for years.

“The majority of people already think it’s pedestrianised which is treacherous and unsafe,” he said.

“Now more than ever there is a need for a safe space for people to enjoy outdoor dining and give more space for people to move around on the lane safely.”

Green councillor Martha Wardrop agreed, saying the pedestrianisation would reduce the risk of accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians.

However, some residents have raised concerns that it may impact the area’s cleanliness and noise levels.

Ashton Road resident and former chair of the residents’ association Frank Shennan said: “The commercial proprietors in Ashton Lane have been lobbying for a long time for pedestrianisation.

“We have always been sceptical about their plans, fearing that their objective was simply to increase the size of the footprint available for drinking.

“On the special occasions when the Lane has been closed to vehicle traffic, it becomes almost physically impossible to walk along the Lane because of the press of their customers.

“The Covid pandemic has hit most businesses hard and I can understand their renewed calls for pedestrianisation. However, it’s symptomatic of the problem of dealing with them that they have even now not been in touch with us, the people who will be most deeply affected.

“We don’t want to be bounced into something like this without strict and enforceable safeguards for those who actually live here.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “A permanent traffic order that could lead to the pedestrianisation of Ashton Lane was being consulted upon prior to the Covid-19 emergency.

“Due to lockdown, the permanent traffic order process has been put on hold but will resume as restrictions ease and further resources become available.

“As a separate, temporary measure, Ashton Lane is also being considered for the Spaces for People programme, which will allow for the safe movement of people while physical distancing measures are required.”