AN AREA of Newport with a "real community vibe" is becoming a hub for independent businesses.

There's plenty happening in Newport city centre recently; in January it was reported that Newport has more empty shops than anywhere else in Britain including Debenhams which closed one year ago.

But progress has also been made on improving the city centre; Newport Market reopened - following a huge redevelopment - in March.

The nearby Market Arcade has also had an extensive refurbishment, with Ffoto Newport opening at the end of 2021 and a health and lifestyle shop set to open in the arcade.

Geek Retreat also recently opened its doors on Commercial Street, while a Masterchef finalist opened a bistro on Charles Street.

While the city centre has experienced highs and lows, nearby areas - where business is booming - are sometimes overlooked.

Just up the road from Newport city centre is Bridge Street and Clytha Park Road - areas which boast a variety of independent food and retail options.

The newest addition to the area is Bakehouse Cakes, on Bridge Street, which offers a variety of sweet treats.

South Wales Argus: Bakehouse Cakes in NewportBakehouse Cakes in Newport

Read more: We tried out Bakehouse Cakes in Newport - this is what we thought

Bakehouse Cakes is in the unit which formerly housed popular grilled sandwich venue, Holy Cheesus.

Holy Cheesus relocated to a bigger venue just up the road, on Clytha Park Road, in January and staff say that business is booming.

South Wales Argus: Holy Cheesus in NewportHoly Cheesus in Newport

Staff member, Poppy Morgan, said:

“Not so long ago there was not much here.

“More things are popping up in the area and the cake shop which opened seems to be doing well.

“We’ve seen more footfall since the move; it’s great that people can come to the area for food, coffee, and even plants."

She added that Holy Cheesus will launch a summer menu soon, and plans to host pop-up events and offer festival stalls.

South Wales Argus: Poppy Morgan at Holy Cheesus in NewportPoppy Morgan at Holy Cheesus in Newport

The brie-lliant food venue is among many options for foodies in the area; Gem 42 on Bridge Street was recently the first restaurant in Newport to earn three AA Rosettes.

Just up the road from Gem 42, other food options include La Pizzeria and Harbour Fish Bar, with independent coffee shop Rogue Fox Coffee House offering hot drinks and tasty treats.

Rogue Fox Coffee House, which has been open for around five years, relocated from a smaller unit (where Holy Cheesus is now based) in November last year.

It is co-owned by husband and wife team Will and Lexy Green, who also own the plant shop Nettle & Bark – which is opposite Rogue Fox Coffee House and opened in July 2021.

Mrs Green said:

“Clytha Park Road is special to us because we are local to the area and want to create hub for the community here."

Along with food and drinks she believes retail is important, which is part of what prompted her to open the plant shop on Clytha Park Road.

South Wales Argus: Lexy Green at Nettle & Bark which she co-owns with husband Will Lexy Green at Nettle & Bark which she co-owns with husband Will

Although it was not initially her plan, when the property was available to rent she thought it had the "perfect layout and lighting" to offer indoor plants - with her also offering advice to customers new and old.

"The area is very community orientated, with customers and traders," added Mrs Green.

"We always try to support traders, as more business means more people in the area.

"There's a real community vibe here, especially with Rogue Fox Coffee House as we've had regulars over the past five years.

"They know that we're independent and that we genuinely care about the people we are serving."

In terms of other retail in the area there's also the award-winning bridalwear shop, All About Eve, which was established in 2002, and Newport Foodway supermarket, which offers halal meats and other produce.

And for those looking to enjoy a tipple or two there is also independent micro-pub, The Cellar Door.

South Wales Argus: The Cellar Door in NewportThe Cellar Door in Newport

The small venue opens in the evenings, occassionally hosting live music, and is included in CAMRA's The Good Beer Guide 2022.

It's often involved in local events such as Art on the Hill, which Rogue Fox Coffee House has also been involved with.