French row deepens as Saudi king gets nod for beach lift, walkways

Mayor of Vallauris claims planning laws have been contravened as Saudi monarch plans summer holiday
French row deepens as Saudi king gets nod for beach lift, walkways
Police patrol the public beach in Vallauris below the immense villa owned by King Salman. The beach will be closed for the duration of the Saudi royal family’s stay. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Amet/Reuters
By Staff writer
Thu 23 Jul 2015 01:50 PM

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has reportedly won approval to build a lift giving him access to a French beach where he is taking a summer holiday despite it contravening planning laws.

According to a report by The Times of London, the lift will give the elderly monarch a shortcut from his seaside villa on the French Riviera to the beach which will be closed to the public during his visit.

The paper said Michelle Salucki, the mayor of Vallauris, wrote to President Hollande to claim that the lift, which will rest upon a giant concrete slab, contravened strict planning laws.

It said she is also angry about a plan to install a staircase to Mirandole beach in Vallauris on the Golfe-Juan coastline between Nice and Cannes, with a pontoon and wooden walkways so that his feet never have to touch the sand.

The Interior Ministry announced that King Salman had promised to remove everything by August 20, when he leaves, the paper added.

The king’s holiday was already at the centre of a row after bathers were banned from the beach next to his villa for security reasons.

Residents have reportedly launched a petition to overturn the ban while the local council is thought to seek compensation for losses to income caused by the closure of the beach.

“We cannot accept that our laws are not being obeyed, whether it is the King of Saudi Arabia or the Pope,” said Blandine ­Ackermann, chairman of the association for the defence of the environment in Vallarius and Golfe-Juan in comments published by the paper.

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