Pledge over future council costs from Leeds skyscraper owner

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The owner of Leeds’s Bridgewater Place skyscraper has pledged to cover future costs incurred by the city council as a result of the site’s wind tunnel problems.

As reported in yesterday’s Yorkshire Evening Post, CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership has already agreed to pay Leeds City Council just over £900,000 following years of safety issues around the landmark 32-storey building.

That payment will reimburse the council for money it has spent to date on interim safety measures, research work and repeated closures of roads near Bridgewater Place.

But, under the terms of the newly-announced deal, CPPI will also meet the cost of future road closures forced on the local authority by the dangerous wind tunnel effect that can grip the area immediately surrounding the tower during stormy weather.

Each road closure has been estimated to cost the council as much as £3,000.

Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “We did not wait for the owners to act on their responsibilities but continued to put pressure on them while we set about working with leading wind experts to tackle these issues.

“While doing so we also addressed the junction’s safety through installation of barriers and railings, along with closures in times of high winds.

“This agreement means we are now able to recover the costs to council taxpayers of pursuing the solution and protecting the public while the owners got their plans in place.”

Work on the construction of a massive system of wind-deflecting canopies and screens around the building is scheduled to get under way next month.

CPPI’s long-awaited scheme is expected to take up to 16 months to complete and will lead to the closure of Water Lane for 12 weeks from February.