Project to tackle wind around city skyscraper

COUNCIL bosses are set to spend a quarter of a million pounds on finally finding a solution to high winds in streets around Bridgewater Place.

Today, Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will be asked to find money to pay wind engineering experts £245,000 to draw up detailed designs for a series of “baffles” across nearby Water Lane.

The baffles would take the form of a series of long structures along the carriageway designed to cut wind speed. The full costs of the project have yet to be determined but, combined with a canopy on the skyscraper itself to be put in place by the owners, it is hoped the measures will avoid any repeat of the tragic death of Edward Slaney in 2011.

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Mr Slaney, 35, was killed when powerful winds around the building saw a lorry blown on top of him. A report to the executive board says problems with high winds have been reported ever since Bridgewater Place was constructed in late 2007.

The report adds: “Leeds City Council has appointed Buro Happold to see if any potential options to remove the wind problem from the highway have been missed. Buro Happold have identified a potential solution in the placement of baffles above the highway on Water Lane in combination with a canopy on the building forecourt and tall, vertical screens adjacent to the canopy. It is important that a comprehensive solution to the wind problem is found.”

Planning permission for the building, which is the tallest in Yorkshire, was granted in 2001. That included a wind assessment, which the report says did not highlight any concerns or require any modifications to the plans.

But since the building was finished, the council have been receiving complaints about high winds in the area, and have worked with developers Landmark Development Ltd and owners CPPi Bridgewater Place to put a number of measures in place. They have included wind sock signage and a pedestrian guardrail.