‘End Of An Era’ For Newport Market As Builders Move In On Multi-Purpose Center Development

The market was initially opened in the 19th-century and has always been known as the heart and soul of Newport.

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Dean Beddis was one of the many stallholders at the Newport Provisions Market. He sold a wide array of records from his collection that he built with his family over the years. He had discs ranging from punk, reggae, pop, and soul, but now, he’s joining many other holders and packing up the business. 

Beddis spoke with the media recently, calling the market’s closings as the “end of an era” for the community, referring to all the stallholders as a “family that has developed over decades, it’s the heart and soul of Newport…it’s so sad.” Most of the stallholders are now moving on due to fundamental changes happening within the market space itself. 

The market will be converted into a multi-million dollar multi-purpose center, and while some market stalls/businesses will remain, things like apartments, offices, a food court, a performance space, and pop-up shops will be taking over as the months progress. One of the goals, according to the Newport city council, is to give the market one of the “largest redevelopments in the UK and create a 24-hour working/living space.” However, Beddis is one of many community members who is against this modernization of the market’s traditional charm.

“Newport people would bring in fruit, vegetables and flowers from their homes to sell at the market. What people want here is a thriving, proper market. Not a fake version of a market.”

According to stallholders the new developers offered each business the option to stay open in the market, however, the terms that they were offering were less than attractive. Mike Turner is a butcher whose father founded AD Turner & Sons in the market back in 1961. Turner claims that the developers are changing the entire “nature and purpose” of the market, which is giving many “no choice but to go.” Turner himself is devastated that he can’t keep his father’s legacy, however, he’s not surprised, when his father opened back in the 60’s there were 23 other butchers working there, Turner was the last of them. 

This same pattern occurred for multiple other businesses as well. Johanna Davies and her family have been running a florist shop in the market since 1942! Davies claims that when her family initially opened there were four other major florists in the market that joined her grandmother and mother, now there are none. 

Four or five businesses are projected to stay in the market; Friendly Neighborhood Comics, Lisa’s Kitchen Cafe, an escape room business, children’s clothing store Bibs and Bobs, and one other which is still undecided. 30 other stallholders are moving on from their long-term business residencies in the Newport Market. The Newport City council, however, defended the new developments to the public. 

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“The redevelopment will give the market a brighter and more sustainable future and act as a catalyst for further regeneration. It could attract 100 new businesses and create over 300 sustainable jobs.”dices.”

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The redevelopment plans have also been in motion for the past decade as a much larger scale initiative to modernize Newport and make it more popular for outside visitors. In 2015 the town opened Friars Walk, another shopping and leisure center. The opening of Friars Walk is what many claim led to the downfall of businesses within the Newport Market within the past five years specifically. 

For many community members, they understand the economic appeal, but are more upset to see so much tradition just disappear. Lucy Ramsey has been a Newport resident since the 60’s, and recently discussed with the media how she remembers her mom and grandmother taking her to all the second-hand bookstores; something she claims inspired her to become a book publicist. 

Ramsey also discussed how it’s the most devastating for lower-income households that relied on the market’s cheaper pricing of things like fresh produce and other food/drink options when compared to more mainstream grocery stores. 

“The majority of people in Newport are not well-off since the decline of industry in the area and the market was somewhere that people on a low income needed. It’s a shame that such a brilliant place is being lost to the city.”

The timeline for when the redevelopment will be complete is unclear, especially with the current state of the world in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s projected the project will be completed by the end of 2021-2022.