Leeds council is set to receive a compensation payout from the owners of the city’s tallest skyscraper over its notorious ‘wind tunnel’ effect and the traffic chaos it has caused over the years.
The authority is in talks with the owners of Bridgewater Place to retrieve the costs of a string of what it calls the “wind generated nuisance” of having to shut down one of the city’s busiest junctions whenever high winds hit.
It is understood council bosses are on the verge of signing a cash settlement with CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership.
Talks about the amount are under way, and an agreement is expected to be signed early in the New Year.
Details of the payout emerge as the 32-storey building’s owners finally prepare to start work on permanent wind mitigation measures.
As previously reported, the firm announced earlier this year that construction of a system of wind-deflecting barriers and screens was scheduled to get under way in August.
To date, however, there has been no sign of work starting on the scheme, plans for which were drawn up after pedestrian Edward Slaney was crushed to death by a truck that was blown off its wheels close to the building in 2011.
It was Dr Slaney’s death that that prompted Coroner Melanie Williamson to recommend that roads around the building be closed during high winds.
The council has been tight-lipped about how much compensation it is demanding, but it is expected to be in the tens of thousands at least.
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council confirmed the junction has been forced to close 10 times in the past two years since September 2013 - costing taxpayers up to £3,000 each time. The latest closure was just last Sunday when high winds battered much of the country. Routes near the building were shut to all vehicles from 11am.
The exact amount each closure of the junction costs depends on how long it was closed for.
A council briefing note says talks are ongoing to “to agree the terms of the settlement agreement relating to the expenditure that has been incurred by LCC in providing temporary mitigation measures to safeguard highway users from the impact of the wind generated nuisance caused by the Bridgewater Place Building pending the introduction of permanent measures by the Building Owner”.
It adds a decision is due early in the New Year.
Speaking last week, Nick Sinfield from CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership (CPPI), said: “We are working closely with Leeds City Council to finalise our programme and will be in a position to update residents and tenants shortly.” The company has indicated it “should be able to say more” later this month or in the New Year.