IF I was with John McAslan + Partners I'm not sure I'd be inclined to give the city a second chance after last time, even with financial and reputational rewards acting as a bit of a sweetener.

When Glasgow City Council previously commissioned the architecture firm to revamp George Square the exercise ended in farce.

In 2013, six redesigns of the city's civic centre were laid out for public scrutiny and a panel of judges picked Mr McAslan's design from the shortlist, only for the council leader to announce almost immediately that the project was being abandoned.

Besides the considerable cost to the public purse, the episode was an embarrassment to the city and a low point of Gordon Matheson's tenure as leader.

A report at the time, written at the urging of Audit Scotland, failed to clarify exactly what went wrong, not naming any names in the investigation of what can only be described as a right shenanigan.

Glasgow's residents are proudly protective of the square, the symbolic heart of the city - where we protest, socialise, meet, sunbathe and rest. A 1998 overhaul, though lacking in international shame, still drew ire from locals who ridiculed a new red tarmac surface that was laid across it.

Here we are back again with a third-time-lucky chance to get it right. John McAslan + Partners has been awarded the contract for this latest redesign, following a public consultation begun in 2019, and work is due to begin on George Square's new look in the summer of 2023.

The six designs in 2013 looked at adding water features and moving the square's statues. The plans were seen as too radical, too controversial. People wanted to keep the area largely as it was perhaps due to nostalgia, perhaps due to a resistance to change.

This time around we can't hold back. George Square is a lacklustre area of the city - dull, grey and uninteresting. Some grass, lots of tarmac, statues of a dead queen ruling over a dozen dead men on plinths.

The time for a radical redesign of the square has never been better. It's vital, in fact. The areas around the city centre are being overhauled with the Avenues projects, making aesthetic and practical improvements to main thoroughfares. Queen Street Station is now a building fit for a modern, metropolitan city and commuters and visitors will expect to step out of its glinting glass front into something matching that calibre of design.

It is vital to make George Square car free and, while business leaders and motorists will make a lot of noise about this, the city centre would benefit from being a low traffic neighbourhood - in environmental terms, in encouraging people to live in the city and move more freely around the centre. With the right encouragement of people away from their vehicles and, crucially, with a push for quality, affordable public transport, there's no reason for city centre businesses to take a hit.

In a survey of residents in 2019, 67 per cent of people backed making George Square traffic free and now is the time to push for it after more than 12 months of seeing the benefits of reduced traffic.

Will a clutch of four local streets are being linked to the redesign, we could - and should - think even bigger. How about a traffic free High Street, gliding from Glasgow Cathedral to the Merchant City? Or St Vincent Street a pedestrianised boulevard?

The multiple ongoing plans to transform the city - the Avenues, the riverside plans, the George Square improvements - feel exciting and long overdue.

In 2013 there were grumbles that the money should be spent on "more important" things - such as filling potholes or dealing with refuse issues. There will be the same grumbles this time too.

But how marvellous the city could look, how invitingly fresh it could be, if we take this new chance to do something innovative and not let squeamishness towards change hold us back.