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Further delays hit attempts to solve Leeds skyscraper wind dangers

TP Bennett and Buro Happold have not yet found a ‘comprehensive solution’ to the problem of dangerous winds around the base of Aedas’s 32-storey Bridgewater Place skyscraper in Leeds, it has emerged

The troubleshooters were brought in to tackle the ‘wind tunnel effect’ near the 112m-tall building following the death of Ed Slaney, 36, two and a half years ago.

Slaney was killed when a lorry ‘floated through the air like a hot-air balloon’ in gale-force winds and landed on him close to the landmark tower in March 2011.

However Leeds City Council, which is working on the problems with the building’s owner, CPPI Bridgewater Place, has said further work is needed on any solution and that a pre-application report which was due to be submitted to the authority’s city plans panel last week had been deferred.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: ‘We want to find a comprehensive solution which solves all the wind problems around the building and highway area.

‘This involves significant design and wind tunnel testing. We are working closely with the owner of Bridgewater Place to achieve this but there is further work to be done before a solution can be presented for members to consider.’

In February Leeds City Council’s executive board was asked to cough up the cash to pay for ‘continued wind testing, legal support, highway officer time and engineering design work of £245,000 to enable a detailed design to be provided for a baffle solution.’

As well as the proposed ‘4m-deep shaped baffles placed 6m above the highway across Water Lane’, the team had mooted a new canopy over the building’s entrance.

Yet in June a coroner’s court was told by the building’s owners that the problem was ‘intractable’.

The BBC reported on 24 June that Nicholas Sinfield, a director of the partnership that owns the building, had admitted to the coroner that nearly 30 different combinations of baffles and other structures had been trialled in a bid to find a solution.

TP Bennett refused to comment.

 

Previous story (AJ 14.02.2013)

Team hired to tackle Bridgewater tower wind dangers

In March 2011 Ed Slaney, 36, was killed when a lorry ‘floated through the air like a hot-air balloon’ in gale-force winds and landed on him close to the landmark tower. A rescheduled inquest into his death has been set for 26 and 27 June 2013.

The engineers and architects are working with Leeds City Council and the building’s owner CPPI Bridgewater Place to look at possible mitigation measures to reduce the impact of high winds on pedestrians and road users. Wind-tunnel tests proved that current conditions experienced on site did not ‘pass commonly accepted pedestrian comfort or safety criteria’ (see council reports and appendices attached)

Tomorrow (15 February) Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to cough up the cash to pay for ‘continued wind testing, legal support, highway officer time and engineering design work of £245,000 to enable a detailed design to be provided for a baffle solution.’

As well as the proposed ‘4m-deep shaped baffles placed 6m above the highway across Water Lane’, the architect has drawn up plans for a new canopy over the building’s entrance.

For the first time the council has officially blamed the tower – the tallest in Yorkshire – for a ‘number of incidents’ at its base since its construction 2007.

The report reads: ‘The wind issues in the vicinity of the Bridgewater Place building on Water Lane have been demonstrated to have been caused by the building.

‘This is despite a wind assessment carried out by a reputable company, BRE, being submitted to discharge a planning condition, which suggested there wouldn’t be a problem with the building design.’

Aedas, Buro Happold and TP Bennett refused to comment

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