A popular secondary school in Eltham has been given the green light for an expansion despite neighbours’ complaints that roads are already a nightmare with traffic.

One resident said he has been spat at by parents from St Thomas More School when he asked them to move their car during the school run.

The school, in Footscray Road, asked the council for permission to build a new block of classrooms and a hall that will be open for community use outside school hours.

The expansion will eventually cater for an extra 150 pupils, but upset neighbours say the roads will not be able to cope with more cars.

One resident said parking was so bad a teacher had tried to use his driveway.

Another neighbour, David Decosta, said at last night’s planning board: “Within the last year I have been spat at, assaulted and not listened to by parents with pupils at St Thomas More.

“Footscray Road is not a main road, it is a very small road and there have been arguments. My main concern is the impact traffic will have from parents on us living next door.”

Fourteen objections had been submitted over the application, and ward councillor Pat Greenwell also spoke out over the impact extra cars would have.

Cllr Greenwell said: “We need more school places but this should not come at the quality of life of residents and the community.

“An increase would put an impossible strain on this part of Footscray Road.

“Cars already ignore the single yellow lines, and a hall for evening and weekend events would cause misery and frustration for residents. Nearby roads simply cannot cope with any more parked cars.”

St Thomas More is one of the best schools in the borough and is currently oversubscribed.

Cllr Christine Grice spoke in favour of the application, saying: “You already heard that we are short for places. This is the first time that the expansion of a Catholic secondary school has come to this planning board.

“One of the principles of our expansion programme is that we should be expanding popular schools. It’s very oversubscribed

“Many parents who want their children to continue in Catholic education have been left disappointed and send their children out of the borough. This is a good opportunity to expand a successful school.”

Headteacher Markus Ryan said the school took parking complaints seriously, and that staff and a school-funded police officer were patrolling roads.

“We have received complaints about parking, as does every school in London, and we do not ignore it.

“We put it in our newsletter and I send letters out.

“We have a police officer that we pay to be at the school and we do the best we can around these issues.”

The school said it had a transport plan that would mitigate the extra traffic.

Despite neighbours’ concerns, councillors agreed the expansion could go ahead.

However, Cllr Sarah Merrill, chairwoman of the board, proposed a condition meaning the school’s transport strategy would also have to be approved before the new building could be used.

The school is rated outstanding by Ofsted.