A CAMPAIGNER against the Croft school will take on Swindon Council leader Rod Bluh in one of the most intriguing clashes of the local elections.

Kareen Boyd, who has mounted a determined challenge to the development, will stand as an independent in the new Old Town ward.

Mrs Boyd, of Hesketh Crescent, has taken aim at the planning process and described residents’ fight against the council as being like ‘David vs Goliath’.

Coun Bluh, who has represented Dorcan since 2008, has already raised eyebrows by standing for the ward as a Conservative candidate.

He has defended the need to build the 420-pupil primary school next to Croft Sports Centre, saying thorough consultations with residents were carried out. The school has already become one of the key battlegrounds for candidates standing in Old Town on May 3.

Mrs Boyd said: “As a consequence of the process which has been applied to the Croft and residents in the area over the last 18 months, I and others have come to the conclusion that there is something amiss in the relationship between the public, the administration and the officers of Swindon Council.

“Residents across Swindon are experiencing the same treatment and a pattern of behaviour is emerging which is not conducive to democracy or the good of Swindon.”

Though the retired IT project manager will not have the backing of a major party, she recently gathered an 800-signature petition opposing the Croft.

It was submitted for debate at full council but was refused on a technicality after officers ruled it was three separate items.

Mrs Boyd, 56, said: “Recent events in the silencing of public debate and the administration’s endorsement of Coun Bluh’s statement of his achievements at full council on March 29, show that returning the current administration in the May elections is unlikely to result in any change of behaviour.

“As such, and after discussions with many local residents, I have decided to stand as an independent.”

Residents claim their views have been overlooked in the planning process and the 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.

Mrs Boyd’s papers were lodged and accepted last week.