More good news for Sunderland - I'm afraid

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The Botanist has had a very good start.The Botanist has had a very good start.
The Botanist has had a very good start.

There was another body blow for Sunderland last week when one of its newest bars announced extremely healthy sales figures.

The Botanist in Keel Square only opened on January 30, but has had 32,000 visitors and sold 14,294 cocktails. These figures were released before the Easter bank holiday and probably mean a profitable knock-on effect for neighbouring bars.

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This came hard on the heels of the shattering news that an estimated £650,000 was spent in the city during Sunderland Restaurant Week.

The media is often incorrectly accused of only being interested in bad news. The reality is that bad news, for good or ill, is of more interest to the public. One section of the public in particular.

This column often refers to the Wearside's whinging community. In fact it could be reasonably accused of whinging about whinging.

However, judging from the responses we have received on recent and ongoing developments in the city centre, the whingers are in retreat - although some will fight to the end.

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No one, but no one, is denying Sunderland's problems. We can all make a list. We could name other bars we would be advised to omit from the brochures.

There remains much to criticise. Constructive criticism is a positive thing and in contradistinction to carrying an agenda, wild supposition, mindless prejudice, clinging to conclusions arrived at without examining the facts and, in some cases, flat out untruths.

In response to good news, such as that provided by the Botanist, gird your loins in anticipation of responses beginning with "Yeah, but what about..." or "Huh. It's a pity they..."

No city will ever divest itself of what-abouts and it's-a-pities and problems should be addressed (easy said, I know).

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But have a gander at the Keel Square area when the Fire Station Auditorium and Empire Theatre are simultaneously emptying. It's a fine sight as well as a very encouraging one. Enjoy it.

Of course, Sunderland extends far beyond Keel Square and I look forward to the usual accusations of irresponsible optimism. Pollyanna me.

Some of the accusations will even come from people who have actually read this column.

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