TODAY marks one month since Newport Market reopened following Europe’s largest indoor market regeneration project.

On March 19, Newport Market was unveiled – people flocked to see the work LoftCo had done on the building, which now features a central food court with cuisine inspired from different countries and numerous independent retail outlets.

It was hoped that the market reopening would breathe life back into – not just the building – but throughout Newport city centre.

The food court at the market closes on Mondays and Tuesdays, in lieu of the weekend, and some of the traders operating there have followed suit – including Rogue Welsh Cakes which has seen a great deal of trade over the past month.

South Wales Argus: Maria, Liz,and Joe Granville of Rogue Welsh Cakes (Picture: Malgorzata Szydlik of MKS Photography)Maria, Liz,and Joe Granville of Rogue Welsh Cakes (Picture: Malgorzata Szydlik of MKS Photography)

Joe Granville, part of the family which runs the business, said: “We make everything and sell out most days.

“We’re a small family run business, not a factory. The shops in the market offer local stuff from local people.

“We don’t need to be open seven days a week – we need time to see family and to make more stock, especially after busy weekends.”

So, while the market has been deemed busy, particularly on Saturdays, has the reopening impacted on trade in surrounding areas? 

Angela Roberts, who owns The Pot Café in Newport Arcade – which is opposite the market’s front entrance – noticed a boost initially but is critical of the opening times.

South Wales Argus: Angela Roberts of The Pot Cafe in Newport ArcadeAngela Roberts of The Pot Cafe in Newport Arcade

“It was lovely for the soft launch and the first week was fabulous,” said Ms Roberts.

“Now it seems to be Saturdays only which are busier – with the rugby and football also being a factor.

“I’ve seen lots of people sitting outside, but lots are eating McDonald’s or Subway.

“I hope it takes off, but it seems stupid that the food court – and lots of stalls – are shut on Mondays and Tuesdays. The first week it opened people were coming in and saying nothing was open.

“I’m not trying to be negative – just realistic. It looks lovely and I wish them the best.”

Annette Farmer, who owns Xclusive Jewellers – which relocated from the market to a High Street unit – said the opening times work for her business.

South Wales Argus: Annette Farmer relocated in 2019Annette Farmer relocated in 2019

“Lots of the traders don’t open on Monday and Tuesday which fits in well as we don’t open on Mondays,” said Ms Farmer.

“The revamp looks very good and modern – it’s been busier, with more footfall, between Wednesdays and Sundays.”

A barman at Tiny Rebel, which remains based at the front of the market, said they have seen a boost in business since the market reopened.

Near the market a separate refurbishment has been carried out in Market Arcade.

Dean Beddis, who owns Kriminal Records which was previously based in the market, said he has noticed more people passing through – especially now that the side gates of the market are open – but that more needs to be done within the city centre.

South Wales Argus: Dean Beddis with his children Soren (nine) and Willow (four)Dean Beddis with his children Soren (nine) and Willow (four)

“Footfall hasn’t increased a great deal, but as more businesses come in this should improve,” said Mr Beddis.

“It is springtime for Newport, with sprouts of hope appearing and giving the city a boost. I hope it continues and we have more business in the rest of town.

“The front of the market is rammed, but a lot of people don’t know we’re [the aracade] here or remember how it was [before the refurbishment].

“Lots of people seem to like the market, so hopefully this continues and brings more people into Newport. If we all sit at home twiddling our thumbs nothing will change.

“We should be part of one big community, one town, which everyone should be part of.”

He added that the revamp of the market had been needed for a while, but it would be nice to have “more homage” to how it used to be.

Although the building has kept a similar structure and has plaques and the original meat hooks remaining as nods to its past, there has been controversy over the upstairs stained-glass window being covered by an advertisement.

Finally, Ieaun Berry, who opened Ffoto Gallery in the arcade at the end of 2021, said he thinks the market has brought in more footfall and that he hopes that all those trading in Newport can work together.

South Wales Argus: The launch of an exhibition at Ffoto Newport (Picture: Mo Fez Miah)The launch of an exhibition at Ffoto Newport (Picture: Mo Fez Miah)

“I think footfall in the arcade is picking up,” said Mr Berry.

“There has been a pickup and I think the clientele has changed – older people feel safer in the arcade as it’s well-lit with CCTV.

“We want to work with traders in the market and the city – traders are the heart of the community and should work with each other, looking out for one another.”