DARLINGTON is turning in to a ghost town, or at least that is what some people would have you believe.

Doom-mongers - some of them regular correspondents to this newspaper and its website - seize the opportunity to highlight any setback to the town’s fortunes. Recent plans by Argos and Starbucks to close branches in the town centre fuelled fears that Darlington is on the slide. We hear similar mutterings when shops have pulled out of other towns across the region.

The doom squad’s response to positive news is noticeably more tight-lipped. Perhaps that is a North-East trait, a combination of modesty and a reluctance to make a song and dance about things which leads us to downplay success and to expect the worst for fear of being labelled blowhards and big-headed.

But there is a risk that if we allow those who delight in spreading gloom to dominate the debate then a few shop closures creates an environment  whereby despair and cynicism chokes optimism and hope. Sometimes we need to look on the bright side and work together for a better future.
News that a deal has been agreed which should secure the future of Darlington’s markets is something worth shouting about.

The fate of the Victorian indoor and outdoor facilities has been in doubt since government’s programme of budget cuts left the council struggling to make ends meet. If things go to plan then the historic markets will evolve and draw even more people into the town. Anyone who cares about Darlington, or the future of any of the region’s town centres, should welcome the move as a positive step forward. 

A dose of northern realism is often a good thing but let’s not be afraid to be optimistic too.