East Cowes Umbrella Tree: Island Roads ‘update’ at public meeting

An update regarding the Umbrella Tree will be discussed at a town hall meeting.

East Cowes Town Council will meet at 6.30pm on Thursday (August 2).

Confirmed on the agenda for the public meeting is an update from Steve Ashman, Island Roads service director, about the Umbrella Tree.

East Cowes Town Council (ECTC) could not release further details on the update. Questions will be taken from members of the public “at the chairman’s discretion” according to the ECTC Clerk.

The tree sits at the corner of York Avenue and Clarence Road, residents say its shelter and benches are part of the town’s character and a welcome spot for tourists to take in the town’s feel, free from the sun’s glare.

Dame Judi Dench, Alan Titchmarsh and naturalist Chris Packham have all pledged their support for the tree in the past.

Umbrella Tree – Credit: Google Maps

Island Roads and Isle of Wight Council fear the tree’s strength is being undermined by a fungus – posing a risk to public health.

A test of the fungus carried out by tree campaigners and English Heritage tree surgeon Peter Abraham identified the fungus as Ganoderma Lucidium.

IWC say their tests found the fungus to be Inonotus Hispidus – also known as Shaggy Bracket – a fungus and pathogen that could weaken the tree.

Island Roads, English Heritage, Alan Titchmarsh, Dame Judi Dench and Chris Packham have all been contacted for comment.

The public meeting begins at 6.30pm, although the Umbrella Tree is halfway through the agenda.

A spokesman for IWC said: “On this occasion, we will not be commenting as it is an East Cowes Town Council meeting.”

If you have an opinion on the Umbrella Tree let us know – newsdesk@iwobserver.co.uk