NEWPORT'S revamped indoor market has barely been open six weeks and already plans are being put in place for the next stage of the ambitious redevelopment.

While shoppers and diners are currently able to tuck into tasty treats at the food court, or browse the market stalls along the outer ring of the market hall, just a few metres below their feet hundreds of years of history currently stands empty and unused.

But, a new planning application looks to change that.

Last week, Newport Market developers LoftCo submitted a planning application to Newport City Council, which would bring the vaults underneath the market back to life.

If approved, the acceptable use of the space would be converted from storage, to a mix use space.

South Wales Argus: The vaults, below Newport MarketThe vaults, below Newport Market

This would allow for shops, restaurants, offices, health, and leisure businesses to set up shop here.

While the initial market development was taking shape, it was revealed that a second phase of bringing the market back to life would open up the vaults to the public for the first time.

The developers told the Argus that this would include private dining rooms, an 80s-style video games arcade, beauticians' salons, rentable studio spaces and events rooms.

Documents submitted along with the planning application also suggest that this space could be used to house a bar and a tattoo parlour.

What are the Market Vaults?

Just below Newport Market lies the Market Vaults, a space steeped in history.

Originally, they were used to house live cattle and livestock – proving a supply of meat for the butchers in the market above.

It is understood that the cages were also used as a makeshift overflow prison back in the heyday of the city's docks.

More recently, they were used as storage space for the market traders above.

They were also used to house Newport's first escape rooms - The Escape Rooms. 

But, with the most recent tenants "currently between premises", the vaults currently lie empty, and did not form part of the recent redevelopment of Newport Market.

What do the plans show?

If plans are approved, the Market Vaults will be opened up to the public, and offer another unique leisure and retail space for the city.

It would be home to events space, along with beauty salons, a retro gaming arcade, tattoo parlour, and more.

Plans would also allow for a bar, and office space to be homed here.

But, to allow for this to take place, listed building consent, and change of use consent is required.

According to the heritage impact statement, “In order to use the spaces for functions such as a bar, personal services such as tattoo parlour or entertainments such as gaming, then there needs to be a reasonable control on ventilation, heating, and moisture build-up within the spaces.”

While efforts would be made to retain the historic aspects of the space, there would be some changes needed to comply with modern day requirements.

This includes protections against damp and flooding, raising low arches for safe access, replacing the lift shaft with toilets, and installing new lighting, ventilation, and heating systems.

These plans can be viewed and commented upon online here.