The Isle of Wight Council has agreed to allow campaigners time to create a community interest company in a bid to save East Cowes’ threatened umbrella tree, according to the Councillor Karl Love.

He has met staff from Island Roads and Cabinet Member Ian Ward, alongside campaign representatives.

He says the friends group, that wants to stop the tree being felled in an argument over how long it has left to live naturally, has been given time to form a Community Interest Company (CIC) to take over its care and ownership.

Chris Packham next to the Umbrella Tree in East Cowes

The century-old tree was planed by Queen Victoria’s groundsman and has inspired a song and celebrity support.

It has a disease, but there are disagreements about how badly it affects the tree.

They will need to raise funds to pay for a frame (to ensure health and safety), for an insurance policy and for a maintenance and inspections package.

Councillor Ward said,

“The will is here by Isle of Wight Council to keep the tree in place if all the health and safety requirements are met”.

Peter Marsh, interim Isle of Wight Council officer said,

“There are no hidden agendas for creating the parking spaces or alterations to the area on which the tree sits. If at all possible we want the tree to remain.”

Councillor Love said,

“We are not out of the woods…but it’s more encouraging and positive that we could have hoped for. We were delighted at the response and speak we collectively made and now we can move forward in fundraising and putting in place the necessary processes which can secure the tree for all to enjoy.”