A quaint seaside town that has 14 different coffee shops on a 500-yard stretch of its High Street has banned any more from opening.
Christchurch in Dorset has become so overrun with the cafes that local officials have decided to leave a store empty rather than allow another trendy coffee spot to open.
The matter came to a head when chain company Coffee#1 sought permission to turn a former shoe shop that has been empty for a year into another of their outlets.
The application enraged rival cafe owners in the affluent town, where there is a coffee shop every 35 feet on average.
Jacqueline and Meghan Francis, who run Coast Coffee, said they already ‘barely manage’ to pay their £2,500 a month in rent and £1,360 a month in business rates.
They added that another rival opening up nearby would be ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for their business.
Christchurch in Dorset has 14 different coffee shops on a 500-yard stretch of its High Street, forcing local planners to ban more from opening
Christchurch has become so overrun with the cafes that officials have decided to leave this former shoe shop (pictured) empty rather than allow another trendy coffee spot to open
Mike Ismail, owner of Baggies Cafe, said that even the large customer base of middle-class caffeine-lovers with time on their hands is not enough to keep all the cafes going
Mother and daughter Jacqueline and Meghan Francis, who run Coast Coffee Co, struggle to pay the bills which includes £2,500 a month in rent and £1,360 a month in business rates
Christchurch has one of the highest populations of elderly people in Britain, with 30 per cent of its 46,000 residents aged over 65.
But another local cafe owner said that even the large customer base of middle-class caffeine-lovers with time on their hands is not enough to keep them all going.
Mike Ismail, owner of Baggies Cafe, said: ‘There are 28 food outlets just in the core part of High Street and 14 of those are cafes or coffee shops.
‘To have that many in a town centre of this size is a crazy situation.
‘The increase in coffee shops and drop in footfall has been a gradual process over the last six years.’
He added: ‘When I first started in 2012 business was booming but it has become really tough and is becoming a struggle year on year.
As well as having to contend with other independents, many local business people also have to fight giants of the industry such as Costa
There are a host independent businesses such as The Coffee Pot, but despite a large population of retirees, there is not enough business to go around, according to owners
Among the trendy establishments already on the High Street is the popular coffee shop chain Caffe Nero (pictured here)
Christchurch (pictured) has the highest population of elderly people in Britain, with 30 per cent of its 46,000 residents aged over 65
Even the UK’s biggest retiree community can’t fill town’s cafes
Christchurch, a town of 50,000 people, has one of the oldest populations in the UK, with 30 per cent of residents aged over 65.
Its harbour, beaches and nature reserves also see it welcome thousands of older tourists each year.
But even the large customer base of middle-class caffeine-lovers with time on their hands is not enough to keep all 14 coffee shops going.
Mike Ismail, owner of Baggies Cafe, said: ‘To have that many in a town centre of this size is a crazy situation.’
Christchurch’s picturesque town harbour
‘The footfall has reduced hugely because there are too many of us.
‘Having another coffee shop open would have taken maybe five customers away from each of the existing coffee shops.’
Among the trendy establishments already on the High Street are chains Caffe Nero and Costa.
There are also a host of independent businesses such as the Coffee Pot, Cuckoos coffee bar, Fleur-de-Lis tearooms, Arcado Lounge, Soho and The Boardroom.
Added to that list are Wild and Free Coffee, Coast Coffee Co, Kelly’s Kitchen, Baggies, Clay Studio and Indulge Yourself.
The rundown does not include Greggs or Subway, which also serve an array of coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos.
Coast Coffee owners Jacqueline and Meghan Francis said despite their business appearing successful, they struggled to pay the bills.
In their written objection to the recent planning application they said: ‘Far from bringing more jobs to the town, another coffee shop will be the final nail in the coffin for existing shops struggling to survive.
‘Coast is an extremely busy and outwardly successful business. In reality we barely manage to pay our bills.
‘A reduction of say, 10 per cent of customers, will probably be the end of us.’
Cuckoos, found at the end of the High Street, is another of the fashionable coffee shops that is forced to compete with a host of rivals
The Clay Studio allows customers to paint their own pottery while enjoying a hot beverage
Wild & Free is located within a minute’s walk of no less than four other cafes offering hot caffeinated beverages
The trendy-looking The Boardroom is situated right at the end of the High Street in Christchurch
Councillors at Christchurch Borough Council voted to refuse permission for the new coffee shop.
They said that while the vacant premises would have been put to use with new jobs created, it would probably have caused other cafes to close.
Peter Hall, a town centre councillor who objected to the application, said: ‘The applicants said they were going to employ eight people, but allowing the plans could have meant eight jobs were lost elsewhere.
‘There was quite strong feeling from local cafe owners and residents that enough is enough.
Soho, which is next to The Boardroom, proudly displays ‘fresh coffee’ first among the wares that it sells inside
Arcado Lounge cafe and bar was among those to benefit after councillors at Christchurch Borough Council voted to refuse permission for the new coffee shop
The Indulge Yourself cafe faces stiff competition for customers given its location right in the middle of the High Street
Kelly’s Kitchen is one of the town’s food and drink outlets. Guidelines suggest the town should not have more than 30 per cent of its shops as food outlets. Christchurch has 40 per cent
‘There are quite a few empty shops but another coffee shop won’t solve that.’
Mr Hall added that planning guidelines state the town centre shouldn’t have more than 30 per cent of its shops as food outlets. Christchurch currently has 40 per cent.
The nation’s biggest and most successful coffee chain, Costa, is British-owned and now operates in 31 countries around the world, including China.
In 2017, the big three chains contributed 19 per cent of the total coffee shop sales with market leader Costa recording a sales growth of 8 per cent and Starbucks and Caffe Nero’s sales growing by 9 per cent and 7 per cent respectively
As many as four-in-10 Brits increased their coffee consumption in the past year, despite often having to pay close to £3 a time.
Fleur-De-Lis Tearooms (pictured above) is another of the establishments situated on the road
‘If I was starting out now I definitely wouldn’t open a coffee shop here’: Cafe owners say they barely make a bean
Mike Ismail, owner of Baggies Cafe, said the coffee revolution in Christchurch took off about six years ago.
The large Costa in a pedestrianised square off the High Street took over three shops that used to be a cobblers, a bakery and a Next store.
He said: ‘Other coffee shops have taken over a lot of other businesses on the high street. For example Arcado Lounge was previously a clothes shop.
‘The Clay Studio used to be a hair studio and Indulge Yourself was an outdoor camping-type shop.’
Local resident Judith Lewis, 78, said there were too many coffee shops in Christchurch.
She said: ‘There are far too many coffee shops and cafes and it is terrible actually.
Rose Kelly (left), owner of the long-establish cafe Kelly’s Kitchen, said the loss of retail stores and rise in coffee shops had impacted on her business, while local resident Judith Lewis (right), 78, said there were too many coffee shops in Christchurch
‘We used to have lots of independent retail shops here but for some reason they’ve all gone now.
‘Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to go out and get a coffee but there are far too many and it’s gone beyond healthy competition now.’
Rose Kelly, owner of the long-establish cafe Kelly’s Kitchen, said the loss of retail stores and rise in coffee shops had impacted on her business.
She said: ‘We have been in the town for 26 years and it used to be really busy before there was this influx about five or six years ago.
‘We didn’t have as many coffee shops and the high street was definitely much more vibrant.
‘We used to have a lot of retail shops here and there were more shops for people to go in and look around.
‘Now we don’t have that – it’s just coffee shops and charity shops.
Local residents Vicky Kettle (left) and Jackie Elleby (right) were in agreement that the town’s high street was too saturated with trendy coffee shops
‘We’ve lost a lot of our afternoon trade since this started happening because there are just too many and not enough business to go around.
‘I was glad to see the council turn down another one because if I was starting out now I definitely wouldn’t open a coffee shop here.’
She added: ‘Even existing coffee shops are being taken over because there’s just not enough demand for all of us.
‘The most recent case was a cafe called ‘Cheese and Alfie’s’ which closed last year.
‘It’s now The Boardroom coffee shop and it’s all just too much.’
Customer Jackie Elleby, 70, said: ‘Coffee shops and charity shops – that’s all you seem to get now.
‘I’ve lived in the area for over 30 years and it is definitely noticeable the decline of the high street in Christchurch.
‘There needs to be more variety because when I first came here we had everything you could want but now they’re just catering for the holiday-makers which is a real shame.’
Three new coffee shops open every day: Total of 24,000 are now in UK
Some three coffee shops are opening every day adding an extra 21 a week serving up lattes and cappuccinos
The UK’s all-consuming affair with the vast array of coffee shops open for business in every High Street in the land shows no sign of running out of steam.
Some three coffee shops are opening every day adding an extra 21 a week serving up lattes and cappuccinos.
The switch from lager to latte means that the number of UK coffee shops has increased from 10,000 in 2007 to 24,000 today.
And amazingly, Brits’ love of lattes and cappuccinos is actually on the increase with 3.4 new coffee shops opening daily across the nation.
This growth sees the coffee shop industry pouring a staggering £8.9 billion into the UK economy every year.
If you turn the clock back just over a decade, there were fewer than 10,000 places where you could buy a takeaway coffee in the UK.
Now we can take our pick from more than 24,000 coffee shops with the giants racking up a total of 659 million visits a year.
According to latest research, the average Brit spends more than £2,000 a year in coffee shops.
It means that we are drinking 2.3 billion cups a year — 45 cups for every single adult in Britain.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the number of coffee shops is set to overtake pubs by the year 2030.
Between 21 and 25 pubs are closing every week, with many turned into homes and convenience stores.
The switch from lager to latte means that the number of UK coffee shops has increased from 10,000 in 2007 to 24,000 today