HE was the first man in space but an even greater honour awaits Yuri Gagarin - a statue in Greenwich.

The lifesize figure, currently at central London's Mall as a gift from the Russian Space Agency to the British Council, would move to the south building terrace of the Royal Observatory - the historic centre of the stargazing universe.

Mr Gagarin, who made history by blasting into outer space onboard the Vostok in 1961, is depicted balancing on top of a globe and reaching out to the heavens from the top of an Irish blue limestone plinth.

A twin representation of the cosmonaut currently stands in Lyubertsy - the Russian city where he trained.

Greenwich planning chiefs will consider an application for the zinc alloy statue at a date to be set.