SHOPPERS in Newport can look forward to a "market for the 21st century" when revelopment work is completed there early next year.

Set to open in February 2022, the new-look Newport Market will be "a home for the community for [people aged] from one to 100".

Simon Baston, the managing director of developers Loft Co, described Newport as a "sleeping giant" in economic terms, which he believes will be awoken when the market project is completed.

Inside, 35 independent market stalls will be featured around the perimeter of the hall, and in the centre a food court will host 10 street food stalls and a 220-person seating area.

There'll also be a 360-degree coffee and cocktail bar, as well as another bar at the front of the market, next to the High Street entrance.

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The market hall is a listed building , and as a result many of the original fittings have remained the same – for Mr Baston this is about reviving the granduer of the existing market building, as much as creating a modern work and leisure space.

South Wales Argus: Market stalls will feature around the perimeter of the hall, and a food court and seating area will be located in the middle.Market stalls will feature around the perimeter of the hall, and a food court and seating area will be located in the middle.

The iconic stained-glass window on the upper floor has also been preserved, despite worries earlier this year that it would be lost.

"To try and retain a building that's 200 years old and bring it into the 21st century, the two things virtually collide," Mr Baston said of the "challenge" at Newport Market. "Regulations change; it's getting harder every day, but something like this has got to be kept."

Families will be at the forefront of the new market's offerings, and although there will be alcohol on sale, it will be geared more towards events and activities, such as a weekly comedy club, live music, games nights and quizzes.

South Wales Argus: Simon Baston, the managing director of Loft Co, which is leading the redevelopment of Newport Market.Simon Baston, the managing director of Loft Co, which is leading the redevelopment of Newport Market.

Other facilities that have been confirmed for the new-look market include offices, a yoga studio and a gym. The upstairs area will be used as a rentable office space in the daytime, and open up as an events venue in the evenings.

The main market will open next February, after the new traders have had a chance to settle into their new home.

Then, work begins on phase two of the redevelopment project, focusing on reviving the vaults that lie beneath the market hall.

Those vaults were originally used to house live cattle and other livestock, providing a fresh and steady supply of meat for the butchers trading upstairs. The caged cells were also used as a makeshift overflow prison back in the heyday of the city's docks.

But after lying abandoned for generations, the vaults in the lower level of the market building will next year be transformed into private dining rooms, an 80s-style video games arcade, beauticians' salons, rentable studio spaces and events rooms. 

South Wales Argus: The vaults below Newport Market will be redeveloped next year.The vaults below Newport Market will be redeveloped next year.

When the initial project was first announced, the redevelopment of the city's market was not welcomed universally, and some of the hall's former traders said they felt pushed out by the plans.

Mr Baston said Loft Co had offered new leases to all the old traders, and several stallholders would be returning to the new-look market next year.

They will be joined by dozens of new traders in what is hoped will become a thriving new space in the centre of the city, that offers much more than just retail.

"If you take a look at [Newport] 30 years ago, it was a thriving, heaving town," Mr Baston said. "Why isn't it anymore? It's because people haven't been offered what they want."

Watch our interview with Simon Baston here:

He said Newport had seen a rise in out-of-town shopping while the city centres in nearby Cardiff and Bristol had flourished.

"People in Newport haven't been given what other cities have. They've never had the opportunity," he added. "But we think it'll be fantastic. There are 150,000 people in a five-mile radius – it's a brilliant spot."