According to Chris Gutteridge and Bev Webster, from Friends of the Umbrella Tree, the Isle of Wight council is insisting on £10,000,000 of Public Liability Insurance. The Friends say this has been impossible to obtain and makes the future of the tree in grave doubt.
They told OnTheWight,
“After long negotiations between Peter Marsden and the Isle of Wight Council and the Friends of the Umbrella Tree when so many obstacles have been thrown in the way, the Council has delivered the biggest obstacle against trying to save the iconic tree in East Cowes.
“The council have insisted on ten million pounds of Public Liability Insurance (PLI) which has proved impossible to obtain and makes the future of the tree in grave doubt. The council’s own block insurance covers it at the moment and the Friends of the Umbrella tree have offered to finance a supporting structure.”
The Friends of the Umbrella Tree are waiting to hear if this will be allowed. They had already secured PLI of £5m last year.
4,000+ strong petition
Chris Gutteridge, the great Grandson of Queen Victoria’s Road Foreman who planted the tree for the Queen, said,
“There are over 4,000 signatures on the petition to save the tree and surely this must count for something.”
“25 years life left in tree”
The Friends of the Umbrella Tree explain that one of the reports which was commissioned by East Cowes Town Council stated that although the tree has a fungus which will ultimately kill it, there is probably at least 25 years life left in it and there is no immediate danger of branches falling off.
Other trees around the town have lost branches during recent storms, but the umbrella tree stands as solid as it has done for over 100 years through two world wars, flooding and hurricanes.
The fungus is certainly not stopping nutrients and water feeding the crown of the tree which blooms in profusion every spring.