THERE’S nothing like a good cup of coffee to start the day. The stronger the better, in my case.

As I grow older, I seem to need an even headier brew - which, of course, is entirely natural.

It’s a medical fact that our sense of smell and taste changes as we age. Apparently, the number of taste buds decreases as we get older and those that are left start to shrink.

Normally, I’m told, this process starts to happen earlier in women – between 40 and 50 – than in men (50 to 60).

After about 60, we begin to lose the ability to distinguish between sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes. So that’s something to look forward to, then……

Given my predilection for strong coffee (if it doesn’t have at least a flavour strength of five on the packet, just don’t bother offering it to me, please) I’m seriously concerned that, in a few years, I may not be able to taste it at all.

I guess I have the same problem with tea but, thus far, I have never been let down by a mug of Yorkshire Tea. No, I’m not being sponsored to say that and neither do I see it as free advertising. The words Yorkshire and Tea go together like Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.

They are synonymous with a proper cuppa – and I’m quite proud of the fact that I once converted an entire office of Welsh men and women (in Wales) to drinking it with a single box of tea bags.

But the search for a good cup of coffee is often frustrating and fraught with disappointment.

So, normally, I’d be happy to insist that the more coffee shops that open on our high streets, the better.

Bradford city centre has certainly benefitted from a growth of them in recent years and I’ve never yet heard anyone suggest that there are too many.

So the mixed reaction to news that Cos-ta Coffee is planning to open a branch in Bingley came as a bit of a surprise.

Local councillors and business leaders have described the announcement as a “boost” for the town but others have been less than enthusiastic.

The chain was granted planning permission in January to convert two empty shop units in the Five Rise shopping centre into a café with an outdoor seating area. It hasn’t yet given an opening date but Costa has now just been given permission for signage by Bradford Council.

It says the plan will create 12 jobs.

For many, it’s a sign that Bingley is, at last, getting its name on the map. Following the opening of Aldi and the sale of the former Bradford & Bingley headquarters to Lidl, it’s certainly clear that national retailers have spotted an opportunity.

For a town that’s been in the doldrums for many years, with something of a reputation as a drinking venue and a number of empty retail units, it’s good to see it moving forward.

But it does raise some questions about the impact on our high streets of chain store openings.

The Five Rise centre already has a coffee shop, of course: an independent called Myrtle Perk (what a great name for a venue a stone’s throw from Myrtle Park!)

And there are others close by – The Loft, Lavinia’s and the Coffee Lounge, to name but three. They’re all independent and they all have their own style and they all serve good coffee and a variety of quality food.

The worry for them is that a chain outlet with a popular reputation could draw away trade, especially with its extended opening hours (6.30am to 8pm) putting on further pressure if they choose to compete, with a need for more staff and, therefore, higher costs.

Competition is a good thing, of course – but if that competition puts existing businesses under threat and leads to more empty units it will have achieved nothing for Bingley, while a national chain will, again, have increased its profits.

So the answer will be in the hands of local residents and it comes back to a familiar theme of mine: if you want local business to survive, you must support it.