A government planning panel's approval of a solar farm near Orange has been called into question.
Orange councillor Tony Mileto has called on the Western Regional Planning Panel to provide the documents it used to support the project after Orange City Council had rejected it.
And he said extra works needed for the plant to be built could push its value over $10 million - which he said would exceed the WRPP's authorised limit.
The planning panel process and meeting was a shamCr Reg Kidd
The solar farm project, planned for farmland about six kilometres from Orange on the Molong Road, was valued at $8.9 million, which exceeded council's authorised limit of $5 million.
Council opposed the plan last year saying it was the wrong site for a solar plant.
Cr Mileto also said the solar farm was near the site of a fatal accident on Molong Road earlier this year.
He said if investigations into that accident lead to the road layout needing to be altered or realigned that cost could be passed to the solar farm developer, ITP Development.
And he said if work, including providing a substation, was needed for the solar plant that also would be passed onto the developer which would increase the cost, potentially above $10 million.
"I believe it is council's duty to see if it was approved by the correct authority," he said.
Cr Mileto said other factors including the plant's "visual affect on the landscape" and its location in an area council had earmarked for future residential development should have been considered.
Council last week formally rejected the solar plant developer's request for modifications to the planning approval.
"I think these are potentially significant alterations because of the impact it is going to have on Orange in the future," he said.
Mayor Cr Reg Kidd told the council meeting he was preparing a letter to the state government and the WRPP expressing concern at the approval of the plant.
"The planning panel process and meeting was a sham," he said.
"Bad connections, you couldn't get in, I was led to believe I couldn't speak [at the hearing]," he said.
Cr Kidd said there were also concerns about why it had needed WRPP approval.
"People do play with the figures to make sure its gets to a planning panel instead of council. This one has hairs on it," he said.
Cr Scott Munro said council supported having a solar farm near Orange but this project was in the wrong place.
He said a solar farm should be "out of sight."
Cr Stephen Nugent, who has supported the project in council, said it was "crazy" not to approve the modifications.
"We are talking about two minor modifications that would take place 25 years, at least, down the track," he said.
Cr Nugent said the plant would bring jobs and economic and environmental benefits to Orange and would help limit climate change.
He said council was "out of touch" in not supporting the project.
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