Live updates: East Cowes council meeting to discuss Umbrella Tree

Live updates: See messages of support for the Umbrella Tree.

An East Cowes Town Council meeting that is to discuss the Umbrella Tree issue is in progress at 6.35pm on Thursday (August 2).

The packed meeting has already heard from members of the public strongly in favour of the tree.

One man has asked the council to keep the tree as it serves as a monument to his father, he made the case that the tree was planted for Queen Victoria and has strong royal connections.

Another member of the public was greeted to cheers as she made her case for keep the tree.

Photo by Joe Burn

Questions were asked of the council as to whether a tree surgeon has been hired or not.

The royal connection is a hot issue with members of the public – photo by Joe Burn

The issue of the floating bridge being in operation until 3am during Cowes Week has also been brought up.

The Umbrella Tree

Updates below: 

Questions from members of the public ended and the council meeting commenced at 6.45pm.

More images from the Umbrella Tree:

Councillor Julia Baker-Smith is being discussed at length as she is the local ward councillor for Whippingham and Osborne and is now “based in Manchester”.

The Mayor of East Cowes Town Council, Cllr Peter LLoyd has decided to give Cllr Baker-Smith a seven day time limit to respond to a question asking what her “long term intentions are”.

Some members of the public would prefer a written letter, rather than an email.

A man has been told to be quiet, he replied: “I don’t even listen half the time anyway.” – 7.05pm

“If we are going to save this tree we are going to need a lot of money,” said Cllr Webster. She was speaking in relation to funding for electricity in Kings Square – 7.06pm

Cllr Jane Rann said: “They’ve never got any money for anyone else.” In reference to the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) and who is going to pay for the electricity in Kings Square. 7.11pm

Cllr Karl Love says the town council “are not getting any of the things we have asked for” from IWC. He is met with applause. 7.15pm

The Umbrella Tree and Island Road’s fence idea has been brought up by Cllr Love. – 7.24pm

One member of the public said he will “rip it down” if a fence is erected.

“Health and safety gone mad”, said a man in the public gallery.

“My job as a county councillor is to find a solution”, says Cllr Love.

“The road is not going to be widened,” says Cllr Love. “I’m trying to find a compromise to allow the tree to say – it is not our decision – it belong to Isle of Wight Council.”

“Is it not possible for it to be considered that those branches that pose a risk be cut down,” suggests a female member of the public.

“I desperately feel for the tree – like everybody,” says Cllr Love.

Cllr Love has now left the room as he has a conflict of interest as he is also a member of the IWC.

A second opinion on the tree’s condition is being read out to the meeting from the Arb Association – they do not recommend trimming the canopy of the tree as this could cause the fungus to accelerate.

ECTC will now attempt to get a further report carried out to assess if the fungus is dead or alive. Island Roads will have to give the council permission to carry out the test.

“That tree must be the safest tree on the Island, if not the UK – it’s got a massive structure around it,” says one female member of the public.

Suggestions have been made to add extra support to the tree.

“We need extra proof that it is dead,” says Cllr Webster.

That’s all tonight folks, thanks for following our first attempt at a live blog. Next time we’ll bring water, a fan and install a plugin to make it look prettier. – 7.55pm