Safety improvements start at Leeds ‘wind tunnel’ which claimed life of Sowerby Bridge man

Leeds city centre skyline with Bridgewater Place, The Town Hall, Leeds University etc.
Leeds city centre skyline with Bridgewater Place, The Town Hall, Leeds University etc.

Work is finally set to start on a scheme designed to ease the perilous wind tunnel effect at Leeds city centre’s Bridgewater Place skyscraper.

The 32-storey building’s owner, CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership, today announced that BT Openreach will be on site from today/

BT’s engineers will carry out three months of work on underground cabling before construction of a wind-deflecting system of large-scale barriers and screens gets under way in April.

The area around the base of Bridgewater Place can be gripped by the wind tunnel effect during stormy conditions.

Pedestrian Edward Slaney, from Sowerby Bridge, was crushed to death by a truck that was blown off its wheels close to the building in 2011.

A one-way closure of Water Lane that will stop drivers turning left from Victoria Road will be in force from midnight on Monday.

CPPI’s Nick Sinfield said: “This marks an important milestone in our wind mitigation plans and once BT Openreach’s diversion works are complete, it will enable us to start construction on the wider scheme.

“One of the most unique aspects of this project has always been its location and we are working closely with the council to ensure every effort is made to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Inevitably there will be some disruption and we have written to local residents and stakeholders informing them of the works and we will continue to keep them updated as the scheme progresses.

“We understand how incredibly important this scheme is to the city and I would like to take this opportunity to thank local residents, tenants and nearby businesses for their patience and cooperation during this time.”

Work on the safety scheme was at one stage scheduled to begin in August last year.

Leeds City Council has installed a reinforced glass shield on the pavement at Great Wilson Street as an interim measure to help tackle the Bridgewater Place problems.