Bid to tame dangerous winds at landmark Leeds skyscraper

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A scheme that aims to combat the dangerous ‘wind tunnel’ effect at Leeds’s Bridgewater Place skyscraper has taken a significant step forward.

Site owner CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership yesterday announced it had submitted an application to Leeds City Council for planning permission for a system of barriers and screens designed to ease weather-related problems around the base of the landmark building.

The firm’s proposals, which were the subject of a public consultation exercise earlier this year, include the installation of massive porous barriers – or ‘baffles’ – above neighbouring Water Lane.

If the scheme gets the go-ahead, a glass canopy would also be put in position at the 32-storey tower’s northern elevation while a perforated metal screen would be placed to its south.

CPPI began working on safety measures for Bridgewater Place after a series of accidents caused by powerfully whipped-up winds.

The company’s Nick Sinfield said yesterday: “Following our successful public consultation in February, we received some really constructive and positive feedback from the public.

“CPPI’s design team has since been working hard to finalise and refine the plans.

“A scheme of this nature has required a multitude of surveys and testing to ensure it can be incorporated within the many site constraints.

“Our design and engineering experts now have final plans which they believe will be the best mitigation measure for wind surrounding Bridgewater Place.”

Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive board member with responsibility for planning said: “We’re very pleased that CPPI Bridgewater Place have put in their formal application for their proposals to tackle the wind issues at the building.

“Our city plans panel will be considering their suggested designs at the earliest opportunity and working with the owners to ensure a solution can be put in place as soon as possible.”

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

In another incident that happened in 2008, a pedestrian was left with a torn liver and internal bleeding after being swept off her feet.

Interested parties have until August 29 to lodge comments with the council on CPPI’s application for planning permission for its scheme.

A ‘determination date’ of October 30 has been set for a decision on the application.

Concerns over safety at Bridgewater Place have repeatedly forced council bosses to close roads around the building during bad weather.

The YEP revealed earlier this year that each shutdown 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 place and manning the road closure points. One shutdown at the end of last year led to traffic delays of up to two hours.

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