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Man killed at base of Aedas' 'wind-tunnel tower'

A 35-year-old man has been crushed to death and a woman seriously injured by a lorry which blew over at the foot of Aedas’ Bridgewater Tower in Leeds city centre

According to the Daily Telegraph, police in Leeds are investigating whether a decisive factor in the death was the tower, and whether it contributed to a ‘wind tunnel’ effect.

Dangerous winds around the base of the 32-storey skyscraper – the tallest tower in Yorkshire – were reported shortly after it opened in 2007.

Back in July 2008, the AJ reported that Aedas was looking to add fins to the office and residential building to reduce the effects of the gusts which had knocked pedestrians over, blown glasses off people’s faces and lifted prams off the ground.

At the time the practice’s regional director Michael Gardner said Aedas was working with Bovis and the BRE to ‘identify possible solutions’ including ‘re-testing the base design…. to help inform the assessment of mitigation measures and ultimately assist with the selection of appropriate actions.’

Plans to install 4m-tall windbreaks in front of the entrance have yet to materialise.

Police are now investigating the causes of the accident which happened just before 2pm yesterday (10 March). The curtain-sided lorry was travelling down Neville Street from Dewsbury Road side towards the City Centre when it overturned onto members of the public.

The 22-year old woman, from Leeds, remains in Leeds General Infirmary with serious injuries.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:’As part of the original planning application, a wind assessment was carried out on behalf of the developer and this indicated that the impact the building would have on wind speed would be minimal. However, since the building was completed, there have been unforeseen wind effect issues around it.  The developers and architects have been working with us to resolve this since the extent of the problems became known to us.

‘The council has acted to make the area safer for pedestrians during high winds, installing extensive lengths of railings along the footpaths in the area . 

He added: ‘The developers and architects are undertaking work with an international wind engineering consultancy who have carried out wind tunnel testing, computer simulations and technical analysis which is enabling us to identify the most effective solution available to resolve the ongoing issues. This highly complex work is still in progress.

‘Yesterday was a particularly difficult day with a number of significant incidents across the region caused by high winds . Following the tragedy on Thursday afternoon,  however, we are looking urgently at other ways of making the area safer.”



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