Could wind be key to decision on Leeds student flats?

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Planning chiefs will tomorrow (Jan 16) decide on proposals for two new city centre tower blocks containing 465 student flats - amidst concerns about potential wind impact which could make things “uncomfortable” for people using the buildings.

The buildings will be on prime land which was part of Leeds Metropolitan University before being sold off. The land is being redeveloped in three phases, and this is the last of those phases.

A report to be presented to Leeds council’s City Plans Panel tomorrow refers to potential wind issues that could make things “uncomfortable” for people sitting near the buildings.

“Without mitigation, wind speeds in the area of public realm between the new buildings are predicted to be unacceptable for sitting and standing,” the report says. It adds that canopies above the building entrances - which are included in the design - should provide “adequate mitigation”, and in some cases, the two buildings could actually provide “significant shelter” from prevailing winds on the two roads close to the site, Calverley Street and Portland Way,

Leeds Metropolitan University has raised some concerns about the design and has stated that “the proposed buildings are far too close to the Portland and Calverley buildings”. The University is also questioning whether the changes in wind profile will affect use of its other nearby buildings through additional noise from wind.

The University has also raised concerns about parking, access, and measures to control noise and dust during the construction phase.

However the University of Leeds, which already has a lease on phase one and phase two of the development, has no objections and says it it has been in discussion with the developer about the final phase.

Among other supporters of the project is Leeds Civic Trust, which has welcomed the provision of student accommodation on the site, which it has said will “help to continue the gradual restoration of accommodation for families in the Headingley area”.

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