Bridgewater Place owners take on major wind issue design solution

The owners of Bridgewater Place have agreed to take responsibility for a comprehensive scheme to reduce wind issues around the building and in the nearby roadway.

Since early 2008 Leeds City Council has been pushing for a detailed design solution to combat problems caused by high winds around the city’s tallest building.

A number of measures were put in place to make the area safer for passers-by and road users, but the council has been actively pursuing a comprehensive and permanent scheme on both the building and in the road.

The council also appointed design company Buro Happold to devise a sophisticated solution to address wind problems not just for the building itself- as proposed by its owners- but also for the environment around it.

Now the owners of Bridgewater Place have agreed to take on responsibility for the entire scheme and appoint the same design company to speed up its progress. It has been indicated that plans may be submitted to the council before Christmas this year.

Up until recently they had accepted responsibility only for wind mitigation measures on their own land and not for the adjacent highway.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:

“This is excellent news that will deliver the solution we have been striving towards for a considerable length of time. We have always insisted that we will not settle for anything that falls short of a complete design scheme to combat the dangers of high winds to both pedestrians and road users around Bridgewater Place.

“We now look forward to the company presenting its plans to the council before the end of the year.”

Officers are now to formally request permission of the council’s executive board to put on hold the work done so far with Buro Happold, on which councillors agreed spending of up to £245k in February this year, to allow the owners to take over the scheme.

A potential solution had been identified for the council by the company’s wind experts which involves canopies and large screens on the building and a number of 4 metre deep “baffles” to be placed six metres above Water Lane.

Intensive wind tunnel testing by specialists of the design has produced very promising results, with significant improvements to other options previously tested.

Notes to editors:

While pursuing the comprehensive design solution, Leeds City Council introduced a number of measures to combat the effects of high winds at Bridgewater Place.

Concrete barriers and guard railing were put in place in in April 2008, with the concrete barriers being replaced by guard railing later that year. A total 180 metres of guard rail was installed around the building.

High-sided vehicles over 7.5 tonnes were also diverted away from Neville Street when wind speeds topped 45mph from a westerly direction. This has recently been upgraded to a permanent ban on all HGVs from Victoria Bridge, whatever the weather conditions. Electronic warning signs to all road users are also automatically triggered at 35mph.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk