Urgent Letter to FirstPort 22nd March 2020 re: Major Works – Coronavirus Crisis


22nd March 2020

Major Works – Coronavirus Crisis

Contingency Plans

Dear Robert, Cihan and Matthew,

During the last few weeks, the world, and the nature of our everyday existence and routines have changed beyond imagination.

At present, it is extremely difficult to predict when some semblance of normality will return, and we can slowly start to rebuild our personal and business lives.

Many people are already experiencing financial hardship having lost their livelihoods recently, and of course the very real fear is that we may witness a huge surge in unemployment running into millions if this pandemic continues over a prolonged period of time.

In relation to the impending Major Works, we now face challenges that we could not have predicted on a range of levels.

We have all agreed that Major Works needs to happen this year, in the Spring/Summer, as it was delayed from last year, and the buildings, certainly externally, need to be attended to and renovated.

Our concern is that the financial impact of the Coronavirus will certainly impact the majority of residents and owners of Repton Park, many of whom will need to use their hard-earned savings for living expenses and will already be budgeting accordingly.

If, (and I will come back to this point) the Major Works does occur this year, how do FirstPort plan to recover the costs/charges from owners, when it is already clear that they may no longer have the cash reserves to utilise?

Have you already discussed this matter within FirstPort?

Are you considering deferring payments to 2021 to enable residents to cope, and even then, giving people an option to pay the charges over a period of time to negate the impact via monthly/quarterly payments?

If you intend to recover the charges in a large lump payment, I think that it is fair to predict that this will be enormously problematic, as although a minority of people may be able to pay in full, many, many more people will not be able to pay if the current pandemic continues for a long time.

If the Major Works are deferred until 2021, can the terms/costs be agreed with the nominated contractors now, and locked in for next year?

To my earlier point, there is also now a clear issue about accessibility to decorate the buildings externally and internally, due to people having to isolate/lockdown, and further the workers and craftsmen themselves may not be allowed to work or prefer not to expose themselves to potential contamination.

You can certainly push the non-critical and internals back at the very least, which will spread the costs over a longer period of time as an option.

FirstPort can also immediately identify and extract the critical items from the current prepared schedule of works, and there is no reason why the tendering contractors cannot still price the works, assuming the situation permits.

You can progress with the tenders and obtain prices, so even when you contract any items that are then decided not to progress this year, they can simply be omitted from the contract.

These are extraordinary times.

We have always recognised and accepted the need to progress Major Works this year, but nobody could have predicted current events.

I can tell you that the vast majority of residents/owners will strongly wish to defer the Major Works until 2021 under the prevailing circumstances.

In view of the global pandemic, we believe that FirstPort should be suspending all Major Works and reviewing the situation in 3 months at the very least, guided by Government advice.

There is no urgent need for Major Works to be carried out straight away, they cannot be viewed as “essential”.

We all need to be mindful that the next 3 to 6 months is going to be demanding on each of us in a wide range of ways.

Since the Second World War, the UK has never experienced anything as concerning or threatening to our personal and national welfare and health, and the pressure and burden of a huge financial commitment will be detrimental to our residents/owners good mental well-being and financial security.

Therefore, we are keen to have a conference call with FirstPort to discuss this matter, as the residents will be coming under enormous financial hardship and will struggle to pay for these works this year, plus the further issue of contractors’ ability to do the work, health and safety regarding potential virus contamination, and the timing and cost of the schedule of works.

Can you prepare a schedule of minimum work for our discussion with you please.

Please respond and set out your initial response, and as stated on behalf of the residents, we would like to set up an urgent conference call with you.

Kind regards,

Paul Jacobs


For and on behalf of the Repton Park Residents Association


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Helping our Repton Park Community during the Coronavirus

Helping our Repton Park Community during the Coronavirus

During these unprecedented times, please spare a thought for our most vulnerable neighbours and friends and ensure that you seek to assist them.

Please keep a vigilant eye on your most vulnerable neighbours and make sure they are safe and secure, but avoid coming into direct contact, keeping at least 2 metres in distance.

Use modern technology to speak to them – Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, and of course use FaceTime and make a phone call. Or just knock on their door, and talk through the door, but please keep that safe distance.

Be careful please.

If you can do some shopping or errands for them, please help, but leave the shopping on their doorsteps, do not enter their homes, especially if they are self-isolating.

We also have a new Facebook group page:-

Friends of Repton Park

There is also a Linkedin Group:-


Please join these Groups and use them to communicate safely with each other.

We are very fortunate to live in a park, and if you are using our beautiful open spaces for exercise, please ensure you keep a safe distance from each other, at least 2 metres minimum.

Please do not allow your children to get close to others or their pets during this time.

We are all now acutely aware of the seriousness of the pandemic and with the fast-evolving nature of the epidemic, we must all keep safe and healthy.

Please read the Government links below for further advice:



Government Advice


The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Main messages

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 daysfrom when your symptoms started. (The ending isolation section below has more information)
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. The ending isolationsection below has more information, and see the explanatory diagram
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
  • if you have coronavirus symptoms:
    • do notgo to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 onlinecoronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

Who this guidance is for

This advice is intended for:

  • people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well
  • those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus

Social Distancing

Current government advice is for everyone to try and stop unnecessary contact with other people – ‘social distancing’. This includes:

  • working from home where possible
  • avoiding busy commuting times on public transport
  • avoiding gatherings of people, whether in public, at work or at home

Employers should support their workforce to take these steps. This might include:

  • agreeing to more flexible ways of working, for example changing start and finish times to avoid busier commuting times
  • allowing staff to work from home wherever possible
  • cancelling face-to-face events and meetings and rearranging to remote calling where possible, for example using video or conference calling technology

Vulnerable people

The government has issued guidance that strongly advises people who are at a higher risk of catching coronavirus (‘vulnerable people’) to take strict social distancing measures.

Employers must be especially careful and take extra steps for anyone in their workforce who is in a vulnerable group. They include, but are not limited to, those who:

  • have a long-term health condition, for example asthma, diabetes or heart disease, or a weakened immune system as the result of medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • are pregnant
  • are aged 70 or over
  • care for someone with a health condition that might put them at a greater risk

Find out more about social distancing and vulnerable people on GOV.UK.



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February 2020 Newsletter

Please click on link below to see the RPRA February 2020 Newsletter.

We would welcome comments and, as requested in the Newsletter, anyone who wishes to help, please contact us.

This content is for members only. You must log in to view this content.



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Corona Virus – Community Spirit

Given that some people who may need to self isolate at some point in the next weeks may not have support in place for things like shopping for example, perhaps everyone could check that they have their neighbours’ phone numbers and contact details etc, so that everyone can help each other out with dropping off any shopping for instance (we can leave it by the front door).

This way, we can all make sure that those without mobile numbers who do not get information from our Whatsapp group can still get in touch with someone near them.

Maybe we could all drop a note to this effect to our neighbours urgently – just your name, door number and telephone number.

Who knows, we might all make more friends too! ❤

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