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Coroner calls for Leeds road closure to prevent another high winds tragedy

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  • by Sam Casey
 

A coroner has called for a major route into Leeds to be closed in high winds at the spot where a man was crushed to death by a lorry.

Deputy West Yorkshire Coroner Melanie Williamson made the recommendation at the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Edward Slaney in Leeds in March 2011.

Dr Slaney died when a curtain-sided lorry landed on him after being blown “like a hot-air balloon” near 30-storey Bridgewater Place tower – the tallest building in Yorkshire.

Following a narrative verdict, Ms Williamson said she was recommending that Leeds City Council close the road where Dr Slaney died when wind speeds reached 20 metres per second – about 45mph.

The road – at the junction of Neville Street and Water Lane – is the main route into the city centre from the south, including the M1 and M62 motorways.

The coroner said she appreciated her recommendation would not be “looked upon with favour” by the local authority.

But Leeds City Council said it would “strongly consider” the recommendation.

Director of development Martin Farrington said: “We have enormous sympathy for the family of Dr Slaney and would again like to offer them our deepest condolences for their loss through this terrible accident.”

He added: “It has been an absolute priority for us ever since we first heard of the wind issues around Bridgewater Place to resolve these as safely as possible for both pedestrians and road users.

“We support the view of the coroner that the building’s owner needs to bring forward the wind mitigation measures that we have been pressing for for a very long time and we will continue to do so.

“We note that the coroner agreed with our proposal that national guidance should be drawn up for local authorities when considering planning applications for tall buildings. We will consider very carefully her recommendation to close the junction during high wind speeds.”

 

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