EYESORE girders that have obscured an iconic art deco building for half a century are being torn down.

The thick metal bars that blight the front of the former Riley’s Snooker Club building in Darlington are being removed on the orders of its owner Devlin Hunter who wants to restore the building’s original 1930s features.

Mr Hunter, a property developer from Darlington, said people stopped to take photographs as workmen dismantled the girders last night and today (Tuesday, April 1).

Many Darlington residents have also taken to social media sites to express their delight that part of the building’s original facade is now visible for the first time since the 1960s.

The work is part of an ongoing project by Mr Hunter who wants to convert the building into a multi-purpose leisure venue.

The building, which stands at the Bondgate entrance to Darlington town centre, first opened in 1932 as the Majestic cinema before becoming an Odeon in 1945.

It closed in 1981 and remained empty for five years until it was converted into a snooker club.

Mr Hunter hopes that when the restoration is complete, the venue will be capable of hosting a range of functions such as live music, private parties and wedding receptions.