A plan to build Europe’s tallest skyscraper in the historic city of St Petersburg was approved yesterday despite warnings that it threatened the city’s status as a world heritage site.

Valentina Matviyenko, the Governor of St Petersburg, gave the go-ahead to the Russian energy giant Gazprom to build the Okhta Centre, ignoring opposition from residents and from Unesco, the United Nations cultural watchdog.

At 403 metres (1,300ft), the spiralling glass spike will be four times the maximum height of 100 metres permitted by planning rules in the Tsarist-era capital, an edict intended to preserve the architectural plan of Peter the Great.

The Times