NEW VIEW: Southern Downs residents are opposed to a proposed solar farm at Sladevale.
NEW VIEW: Southern Downs residents are opposed to a proposed solar farm at Sladevale. JACK TRAN

HOT TOPIC: No formal consultation for Warwick solar farm

RESIDENTS are up in arms after discovering the development application for a proposed solar farm in Freestone Valley will not be required to undergo a formal process of public consultation.

Terrain Solar notified residents the development was made code assessable to align with changes to the Queensland Government Planning Act applied in mid-2017.

But despite a lack of formalities, residents can submit feedback from now on.

Mark Pierce lives next to the proposed site and claimed council told residents to wait until a formal objection period began, but then were not notified of the application changes.

He has now submitted his own formal objection to the council, saying he is not against solar energy but is concerned about the impact of the farm on agricultural land, tourism and the value of his property.

"People are sitting waiting for a notification period that wasn't coming,” MrPierce said.

Mount Tabor resident Meryl Strand questioned the transparency of the project if formal public announcements were not required.

"We're living in a community where everybody has a right to be heard, we just need to be informed so we can understand,” she said.

The proposed Warwick Solar Farm will be set up on a 154-hectare site on Jensen and Gleeson Rds.

Terrain Solar director Simon Ingram said the nature of the development hadn't changed, but was updated to reflect the requirement to be code assessable.

"We're working closely with the council because people can still (give feedback) through council. As always we're really happy to respond to queries,” MrIngram said.

Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said the development application hadn't been presented to councillors, but councillors had already met members of the community about their concerns.

A council spokeswoman said community feedback was encouraged and the application was available to view at Warwick council office.



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