Number of coffee shops in Lancaster on the increase

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There has been a huge growth of coffee shops and cafes in Lancaster.

The number of businesses has risen from 35 in 2010 to 60 this year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

The ONS figures for unlicensed restaurants include both coffee shops and fast-foods outlets.

And it is these two types of businesses that are driving the sector boom across the country, market analysts say.

But more businesses on high streets also means more competitors.

The investment bank Citybank said in a report released last year that the number of coffee shops cannot keep growing at the same high pace and forecast that the boom in the sector will not last beyond 2022.

People in the UK drink 95 million cups of coffee each day, up from 70 million 10 years ago, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

One in 10 are sold in coffee shops, and more than half of those are served by Costa Cafe, Starbucks and Cafe Nero.

Mike Cherry, the Federation of Small Business’s national chairman, said: “Crucially, it isn’t just chain stores who are seeing their fortunes rise, but independents are also thriving in this food and drink boom.

“Not only does this help small firms, but also gives shoppers a greater wealth of choice and promotes good healthy competition.”

“The caveat for this success is that all smaller firms, whether they are selling coffee, clothes or carpets are constantly threatened by ever-rising business rates.”

A spokesman from The Project Cafe UK, a network of coffee professionals who analyse the industry, warned that despite coffee shops doing well, but Brexit could hamper the growth.

He said: “The industry mood remained confident over the last years, with 71% of coffee sector executives, interviewed by us, positive about the trading environment.

“However, deep concerns over key Brexit issues, such as trade and jobs, remain – a climate reflected in dampened like-for-like sales and impeded outlet growth.”

The data from the ONS shows that in Lancaster there were 5 closures of coffee shops and unlicensed restaurants since 2016.

The expansion of these businesses in Lancaster was slower than the average for the UK.

Nationally, there are 28,900 unlicensed restaurants, nearly double eight years earlier.

While this growth in the sector may be good for the high street, it may be bad for public health due to the increased availability of fast-food.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned about the relationship between childhood obesity and a diet more reliant on fast-food.

Dr Rahul Chodari, a consultant paediatrician, said: “We know that many of these outlets are located near schools, and with one in three children leaving primary school overweight or obese, it is clear that action is needed to create healthier environments for children and young people.

“We are calling on local authorities to use their planning powers to prevent new fast food shops opening within close proximity to schools, playgrounds and other areas where children spend much of their time.”