A vast blaze has broken out at a building in the heart of central London.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it was called to reports of a fire at 12.45pm on Great Portland Street, where officers were still establishing the situation.

The road is close to Oxford Street – the capital’s busiest shopping hub.

A column of acrid black smoke could be seen rising from the fire in pictures posted on social media, apparently visible from miles away against the blue afternoon skyline.

Firefighters sprayed water at the building, which neighbours said is being converted into flats by developers.

Nearby, residents stood behind a police cordon waiting to be allowed back into their homes.

Calls to the fire service had suggested that the fire had either broken out close to or in a building site, an LFB spokesman said.

He added that firefighters had not confirmed what type of building was ablaze.

Ten fire engines had been dispatched to battle the flames, he said.