A PETITION by campaigners against the Croft school has been turned down for debate by the council.

The petition, which contained three elements and a total of 800 signatures, was accepted at the Civic Offices by Labour leader Coun Jim Grant on Tuesday.

Campaigners, who want a review of the planning committee's go-ahead for the scheme had hoped it would be debated at the full council meeting on March 29.

But the council said yesterday the petition did not meet requirements to become part of the agenda.

Rules state that an issue affecting two wards must have 750 signatures, and council officers ruled that the school will draw pupils from Old Town and Eastcott.

While the Croft campaign exceeded that number, the council said they were contained in three documents.

Campaigner Kareen Boyd warned the decision ignored the majority of residents’ opinions and would have repercussions at the local elections on May 3.

She said: “Democracy is dead in Swindon under this administration. They have created the mess they find themselves in across the borough and the election will demonstrate what the public think of those who have supported this.”

Kareen, of Hesketh Crescent, presented the petition as one document, although it contained three elements.

She said: “There was the petition gathered before the planning committee which says people are not happy with the process; the survey carried out before the planning committee, which was presented to the committee and, as a consequence of the behaviour of the committee and the officers, there was a further petition about how public concern and expert advice had been dismissed.

“It all comes back to the same thing which is the way this was dealt with.

“What they’re doing is saying what the public think doesn't matter.”

Residents claim their views have been overlooked in the planning process and the 420-pupil primary school will be intrusive, result in gridlock in Old Town, lead to loss of green space and have dangerous access points.

The campaign has continued despite planning permission being granted in November for the site, off Marlborough Lane.

A council spokesman said: “The council will accept petitions for consideration but they must hit certain thresholds.”