Safety work on ‘wind tunnel’ hazard not ready for months

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SAFETY measures to combat the Bridgewater Place “wind-tunnel” effect in Leeds may not be in position until the end of 2015, the skyscraper’s owner has admitted.

CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership has unveiled proposals for a system of wind-deflecting barriers and screens after weather-related accidents around the building’s base.

But it says it is likely to be the end of this year before the start of construction, which will take another 12 months to complete.

CPPI’s Nick Sinfield said: “We are putting pressure on all of our team to get construction started as soon as possible – but I don’t think anyone would thank us for rushing something that did half a job.” Mr Sinfield also revealed the proposed work would cost CPPI “many millions of pounds”.

CPPI yesterday released computer-generated images of the changes it wants to make at the 32-storey tower.

Plans include installing huge porous barriers – or “baffles” – above neighbouring Water Lane and fixing vertical screens up to 18 metres tall on the north western corner of Bridgewater Place. A new glass canopy would also run the full length of the skyscraper’s northern elevation to Water Lane.

The images were released after CPPI gave a Leeds City Council plans panel a presentation on the scheme.

A planning application is due to be submitted to the council in late February or early March.

Council bosses say that, until safety measures are implemented by Bridgewater Place, they will continue with their practice of closing the roads near the skyscraper during windy weather.

The council also says it is too early to state how construction work could affect traffic in an area that provides a key route into the heart of Leeds.

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