Leeds skyscraper safety plan set for go-ahead

How part of the Bridgewater Place scheme would look.
How part of the Bridgewater Place scheme would look.
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A multi-million pound scheme designed to ease the dangerous ‘wind tunnel’ effect at Leeds’s Bridgewater Place skyscraper looks set to get the green light from council planners.

Site owner CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership submitted an application in August for planning permission for a complex system of barriers and screens at the landmark 32-storey tower.

Now a report compiled by Leeds City Council officers is recommending that members of the authority’s city plans panel approve the application when they meet next Thursday.

The report says the proposals would have a “significant mitigating impact” on the winds that can be whipped up around the base of Bridgewater Place during bad weather.

Should the scheme receive approval, overhead gantry-style barriers – known as ‘baffles’ – would be installed above neighbouring Water Lane.

A glass canopy would also be put in position at the building’s northern elevation while a perforated metal screen would be placed to its south.

Coun Peter Gruen, the authority’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, said: “Leeds City Council has worked extremely hard to ensure that a credible and comprehensive design solution to the Bridgewater Place wind issues is brought before our plans panel as soon as possible.

“Officers have worked alongside the building’s owners to ensure their proposed scheme is as technically sound and thoroughly tested as it can be so it is ready for councillors to make an informed decision on the day.”

Pedestrian Edward Slaney, from Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, was crushed to death by a truck that was blown off its wheels close to Bridgewater Place in 2011.

Another pedestrian was left with a torn liver and internal bleeding after being swept off her feet in an incident in 2008.

Concerns over safety at Bridgewater Place have repeatedly forced council bosses to shut the streets around the building during stormy weather.

The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed earlier this year that each closure of the Water Lane-Neville Street-Victoria Road junction was costing the local authority between £2,000 and £3,000.

Contractors are paid by the council for jobs such as putting diversion signs in position and manning the road shutdown points.

One closure at the end of last year led to traffic delays of up to two hours.

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