Residents and businesses plagued by the stench from a Mid Sussex landfill site say it is causing property values to plummet.

People living and working near the Brookhurstwood site in Warnham, near Horsham, say they can no longer cope with the smell, even though contractors Biffa Waste Management spent £2 million trying to contain the escape of pungent gases.

The Environment Agency threatened to shut the site in May last year unless the smell was plugged and Biffa was told to improve the landfill gas extraction system or risk losing its licence.

The company has since embarked on a programme of improvements.

Yet neighbours and employers say their lives are still being made a misery by the smell.

Mr John Nicholas, of Langhurstwood Road, said: "The smell has been so bad before that my grandchildren couldn't even play in the garden.

"It's disturbing that suggestions the smell would be sorted out have not been realised. They assured us it would be gone by October this year.

"The whole area has been blighted and there is a lot of concern about property values.

"We were told "give us time" but they have had time. We feel we have been betrayed."

Mr Neil McDonald, 53, who works at a vehicle repair garage at Warnham train station, said the smell had put off employees.

He said: "I suffer from asthma so I'm particularly susceptible to it. Unless you smell it you don't realise how much it gets to the back of your throat. We wouldn't be able to sell the property unless someone came with a nasal problem.

"It causes problems with employment."

Horsham District Councillor Andrew Baldwin said: "This has been dragging on for three years. The problems have got better recently but people are still very worried about it. When it rains, the problem is particularly bad.

"To be fair to Biffa it's a very big site but that is no comfort to the people who live nearby and who are worried about being able to sell their house."

A spokesman for Biffa said property values would not be affected.

He said: "The site is located near to a number of other businesses and as such is unlikely in itself to have a detrimental effect on house prices.

"Since Biffa acquired the site £2 million has been invested in improvements to the gas collection infrastructure. This has had a significant impact on the amount of gas captured."

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said it was happy with the improvements.

She said: "Biffa has spent a lot of money improving smell emissions and the situation has improved."

A meeting about the odours from the site will take place at St Mark's Church, North Heath Lane, Horsham at 7.30pm next Tuesday.

Those attending will hear from and be able to question a panel including Biffa Waste Services Ltd, the Environment Agency, West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council.