CAMPAIGNERS left the town hall angry and dejected on Wednesday night, after councillors passed plans to increase the size of a primary school by 50 per cent, which residents fear will cause traffic chaos.
The public gallery was packed full with some of the 686 protesters who had signed a petition against the planned work at St Gregory's RC Primary School, in Woodfield Road, Ealing.
They staged a demonstration outside Ealing Town Hall before the meeting.
Supporters, including the Diocese of Westminster, which runs the school, say the one and two-storey extensions, new games court and playground areas are vital to tackle rising pupil numbers.
But speaking for the objectors, Jane Shirley explained the area does not need extra capacity, with only 64 applicants this year for the 90 places made available.
She said other schools could take expansion better than the land-locked site and the lack of interest in the area would mean pupils coming from further afield increasing traffic on already clogged roads.
She feared residents would be ignored, adding: "We believe this is a done deal."
In response Nigel Spears, of the Diocese of Westminster, said his organisation's own survey of Catholic families in the area showed there was demand for enlarging pupil numbers from 446 to 656 and not expanding would lead to traffic problems as parents take their children elsewhere.
He said the diocese had listened and responded creatively to residents' concerns, prompting laughs from the public gallery, and said councillors must 'look beyond short-term considerations and begin to plan strategically for the future'.
Councillors were split over the issue, with Benjamin Dennehy, a ward councillor for the area, giving up his chance to vote on the committee to speak on the residents' behalf.
He pointed out the danger of opening up the old entrance at Westmoreland Place, which will be needed to relieve pressure on Westfield Road but leads out to a tight cul-de-sac and was closed a number of years ago after a child was hurt in an accident.
He called for a deferral because a council traffic report was only submitted the day before and residents said they had not been able to show councillors all the causes for concern during the site visit. This was rejected in a vote.
There were other problems, including the safety of an alleyway needed to open a third entrance, also on Westfield Road, and its lighting causing disturbance, as well as the look of the school affecting the conservation area on its boundary.
But the biggest issue was traffic; residents have said they can already be stuck in their driveways for 20 minutes during busy times.
Councillor Dennehy pointed out the number of cars in Westfield Road would increase by about 40 per cent, which would be an 'absolute nightmare'.
But after a long discussion, council-lors voted by a margin of six to two to approve the application, leading to shouts of 'whitewash' and 'diabolical' as the gallery emptied.
A council spokeswoman said the authority would spend £10,000 tackling traffic problems and improving safety.