FRESH and welcoming are two words that were unlikely to have been used to describe the public toilets in Kingston Park.
The Fratton toilets closed last year as part of cutbacks by Portsmouth City Council and the block was bought by Little Learners nursery, which was in the Park Lodge next to the block.
Now, thanks to a £240,000 investment from the family-run business, the block has been demolished and rebuilt as a fresh and welcoming pre-school.
Owner Elaine Burnett, from Copnor, said: ‘There was so much hype about the toilets being closed and people not wanting them to close.
‘But it was not a nice place. We had to put out fires and things like that.
‘They were used for drug dealing and had needles in them.’
Elaine, 38, said the new building has completely changed the area and enabled them to increase their child places from 33 to 42.
They have also taken on two new trainees, and expanded their staff to 11.
She said the new building was a marked improvement.
‘It is stunning,’ she said.
‘We have transformed the area and refurbished the other side too.
‘Our babies have a purpose-built area just for them and we have been able to move the children around and make their areas bigger.
‘The under-twos have a relaxation area, a play area and an area for messy play.’
An official opening was held at the building in Clarkes Road on Saturday.
Lord Mayor David Fuller unveiled a plaque and a celebration was held.
Elaine, a mum-of-two, said she was proud to put something back into the community and that she hoped to be able to expand again soon.
She added: ‘I want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way.’
For more go to littlelearnersdaycare.co.uk/