A £9m pound flood defence scheme would cause "irreparable damage" to the landscape of a historic village if given the go ahead, it is claimed.

Coggeshall district councillor and parish council chairman Nick Unsworth says the Environment Agency's proposals to protect the village from flooding are out of proportion with what is needed and has called for a rethink into the scheme.

The proposals would see a clay dam installed in the River Blackwater to control the flow of water heading downstream.

Any overflowing water would be directed into a new 155-acre flood storage area off Cuthedge Lane, which is to the south of Coggeshall.

The Environment Agency insists this option has been favoured by residents in the past but Mr Unsworth says he and fellow parish councillors have big concerns about the scheme and fears it would cause serious harm to the village's landscape.

In its official response to the plans, Coggeshall Parish Council said the scheme would create "20 years of noise, dust and pollution" and would cause "irreparable damage" to the Blackwater Valley.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Unsworth added: "From my perspective its completely out of proportion with the sight and what is needed. It is supposed to protect something between 30 to 50 homes so it's far too big.

"The whole of the landscape would be changed forever and the trees in the valley near the vineyard would be completely wiped out.

"I've lived here for 35 years and there has only been two real incidents of flooding. I understand they had nothing to do with the river overflowing because it was actually caused by run off from the fields."

Drop-in sessions are being held this week where members of the public will get the chance to have a look at the proposals being put forward.

Mr Unsworth has encouraged residents to attend one of the events to see for themselves the scale of the scheme.

He added: "It is absolutely vital residents attend. People need to understand the impact it will have on the village.

"It will basically be like building a huge quarry right next to Coggeshall."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency responded: “We understand that members of the public may have concerns and questions about the proposed flood alleviation scheme.

"That is why we are holding two drop-in events in the area this week and we encourage people to attend.

“Representatives from the Environment Agency and Blackwater Aggregates will be on-hand to provide further information, answer questions and listen to people’s views on the design."

The first drop-in session takes place between 3pm and 7.45pm today at Christ Church in Stoneham Street, Coggeshall.

The second event will take place between 2pm and 7.45pm on Friday at Feering Community Centre in Coggeshall Road, Feering.