Letter from Carl Jones

I have been interested in what will happen to the Love's Farm site since the archaeological exhibition held there over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2005. I have always been interested in archaeology and the history of places and went to the exhibition to find out who had lived here before and how they had lived. At that time I had no plans to move here and did not know that the housing development was being planned. After the exhibition I wanted to find out more about the plans for the area and soon discovered that the project planners shared many of my ideas for a sustainable community. The more I found out about the planned development the more I wanted to be part of it. I was one of the first to move into a home here in June 2008. I soon met Katie Baldwin, the Community Development Officer, and we started to work on building a community rather than a housing development.

We have had a great deal of success in helping people to meet their neighbours and become involved in community activities. Much of this has been down to the hard work and dedication of a small band of volunteers that form the backbone of the Love's Farm Community Association. Along the way we have been helped by various organisations and local authorities.

In 2010 the local boundaries were changed to reflect the growth of some parts of St Neots and a new Town Council position was created that covered the parts of the town lying east of the rail line. After careful consideration I decided to put myself forward for the position as an Independent candidate – I think that national political parties and doctrine have no place in local politics at Town Council level. The majority of those that voted at the local elections agreed with my principles and I was successful in my bid to become a Town Councillor.

Over the last four years I have worked to help Love's Farm and St Neots East become part of town. Life's path does not always run smoothly and the plan I had for spending the next five to six years as a local resident, volunteer within the community, and Town Councillor has recently been thrown into complete disarray.

In my full-time job I am a senior aircraft engineering manager in the Royal Air Force. In the latest round of public spending cuts I was one of those selected for redundancy and I leave the military after nearly 33 years of service at the end of August. After much thought, discussion, investigation, more thought, and more discussion we have decided to take advantage of the opportunities given by this unexpected career change. We will soon be packing up and moving to Portugal to help develop a fledgling international community in the Beira Alta region just north of the Serra da Estrela mountains.

Our long-term dream has been to live sustainably and in harmony with nature. We want a comfortable home that is ecological and efficient, built from natural materials, and with a light environmental footprint. We want to live simply so that we can spend time together, doing things for ourselves and the local community, being creative, or just being alive. Living such a simple life is just not possible in most parts of the UK at this time so we had resigned ourselves to this being a dream - at least for the next six years. Now though we have an opportunity to make a change, to make a difference to our lives and to those we live and work with. We are going to learn about sustainable living by actually doing it, no half measures, no weekend try-outs, straight in with only our ideas, our enthusiasm, and our principles. We will be learning and practising the skills to produce ecologically designed homes, develop clean energy systems, grow food using traditional and organic agriculture, and use natural products for cleaning and healing. We will also be learning how individuals and family units can live and work together rather than in competition, we will
share skills, knowledge, experience, tools, and resources as we progress from a pioneering group to a full community. In time we hope to run courses to pass these skills on to future generations so that they may learn to live sustainably and reduce man's impact on the natural resources available on this planet.

Whilst I am sad to be leaving the community that I have spent four years working with at such short notice I am also very excited by the prospect of living a different life and potentially having a much bigger impact on the lives of future generations. I will keep, via the internet, an eye on the development of Love's Farm, the St Neots Eastern Expansion, and the town in general. My very best wishes to everybody.