Fomm ir-Riħ estate owners must apply for planning permission for metal gate

Privately-owned estate at Fomm ir-Riħ closed off to public

The Planning Authority has requested the owner of the Fomm ir-Riħ bay and surrounding environs to remove a gate blocking access to the bay, and formally apply for a planning permit.

The entire estate has been privately owned for years. An environment ministry spokesperson told MaltaToday the owners had installed the new metal gate due to the danger to the area, after a slope collapse closed access to the foreshore of the secluded beach.

“The government will work towards an arrangement with the owners to eventually allow adequate public access to the foreshore, while respecting private property rights,” the spokesperson said.

The metal gate blocking a path down to the picturesque Fomm ir-Rih bay prompted angry reactions from environmentalists, after the discovery was made by clean-up diving activist Raniero Borg.

“I went for my usual walk to check on the beach at Fomm ir-Riħ, Mgarr/Rabat and I was unable to assess the only road to the beach due to this gate. Why is it closed? Why are we unable to walk down to the beach? All walkers and trekkers who enjoy walking in the countryside are unable to now,” he said on Facebook.

The gate has signs warning ramblers that the area is private property and that it is dangerous.

Fomm ir-Rih recently saw a slope collapse rendering it somewhat dangerous for people. But the bay is part of the estate which includes a villa on the cliffs above.