Britain’s burgeoning cafe culture is still full of beans. No less than three coffee shops are opening around the country every single day. Unrelenting demand for flat whites and Americano’s means there are now more than 24,000 coffee shops in Britain. No less than 1,215 shops opened last year. They were a mixture of independents and large chains.

All this means that at the current rate of growth, researchers expect coffee shops to outnumber pubs by 2030. According to research by the British Beer and Pub Association, the number of pubs fell by 17% between 2000 and 2016 to just over 50,000. High alcohol taxes, the smoking ban and changing cultural habits have been blamed.

Coffee shops are fast becoming the new “local” for a growing number of people, supplanting the traditional role of the pub for social gatherings. Only one thing will hamper the expansion – a shortage of baristas. Coffee shop operators will need to hire another 40,000 people over the next six years.

Our own church alcohol policy came and review this year. Our current policy is that we do not allow alcohol to be consumed on the premises, apart from a toast. This was debated, and arguments advanced for and against. After a very close vote, PCC decided to maintain the alcohol policy in its current form.