WITH its selection of trendy gelatos and its ice cool interior, it’s hard to believe what this new ice-cream parlour once was.

But when husband and wife Jagbir and Mandeep Sidhu spotted a derelict block of public toilets for sale, they saw the perfect place for one of the new breed of ice-cream bars that are sweeping the country.

They forked out £180,000 for the block and have spent countless weekends ripping out the interior, sledgehammering walls and piling heaps of bricks and tiling and the pipes into a half dozen skips.

Now, nearly a year later, they are filling sundae glasses rather than skips as the parlour in Brockenhurst village centre opens just in time for the summer.

Mandeep, from Southampton, said: “If you went back in time to what it was, you would never believe what it has become.

“It has come a long way. It is such a drastic change of use.”

The former public conveniences had been derelict for more than seven years.

Hampshire Chronicle: The public toilets in Brockenhurst before they were converted.

But an entrepreneurial developer then snapped it up because of its central location in a tourist hot spot, securing planning permission to convert it to a shop or cafe.

The block was then sold to Mandeep and Jagbir.

The couple say the parlour has been themed around a rustic-style ice-cream parlour but with a modern twist and aims to appeal to people of all ages.

The shop will offer home-made Italian gelato and freshly ground coffee.

They hope to attract students from Brockenhurst College as well as villagers and tourists who want an alternative to the pub.

Among the menu items designed to tempt are home-made cakes, waffles and sundaes. It also offers takeaways.

Melt opened its doors on Saturday with face painting, ice-cream tasting and a raffle.