Supporters and detractors alike will take what they can from this morning's Echo story about Chiristmas takings in Darlington town centre.
Both the Queen Street Shopping Centre and the Cornmill reported a sharp rise in footfall, despite the Pedestrian Heart works.
In the 2 weeks before Christmas 75,000 people visited Queen Street and in the week running up to Christmas this increased to 100,000 although the manager there felt that it had been affected by the works in the past.
The Cornmill Centre described business over Christmas as "brisk." Cornmill manager Susan Young said, "It's difficult to say whether the Pedestrian Heart project has had an effect on our trade or not. Our footfall last week was up on the same week last year, and a lot of retailers are reporting record takings. It would be unfair to blame any loss of business on the Pedestrian Heart project."
She added, "The footfall on Boxing Day was up 18% on last year, and we had 210,000 visitors last week, which is 22% more than the year before."
Darlington Tories have consistently talked down the health of Darlington town centre to try and extract some political advantage during the inevitable disruption of the Pedestrian Heart works. In the light of these figures, maybe now would be a good time for them to reassess their position and get behind the town.