'We want our museum back'
More than 150 people have signed a petition calling for a historic house and its gardens to be reopened as a free museum.
Leicester City Council closed Belgrave Hall in October for a revamp so it can be re-launched as a venue for private functions and public events in the spring.
However, the move has upset some people living nearby who used to enjoy visiting the house and its picturesque grounds.
They have gathered 165 names on a petition calling for the 18th century mansion to be returned to its former use.
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Belgrave Hall Conservation Society chairman David Holding, who presented the petition to the council on Thursday, said people wanted to protest about the closure.
City councillor Ross Willmott, who lives near the hall, is backing the residents.
He said: "It is the only Queen Anne building in the city.
"It is a very fine property and is not being used the way it should be.
"People miss the museum and would like it to be reopened.
"The mayor wants to reopen historic buildings in the city centre such as the Magazine, and I welcome that, but it should not be at the expense of Belgrave Hall being forgotten."
The council said the hall attracted the fewest visitors of any of its museums and that its plans would see about £140,000 of Arts Council cash invested.
The venue had 16,000 visitors in 2011-12.
Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the council intended to improve the building and make it more attractive to visitors. Forty public events a year will be run there. A schedule is due to be published in March.
Sir Peter said: "I do not think it is always appropriate to justify public access to a building by stuffing it full of artefacts, particularly artefacts that don't belong there."
Councillor Piara Singh Clair, assistant mayor for leisure and culture, said the hall had looked tired and many of its rooms were closed to the public anyway.
He said the plan for the hall would see it remain open to the public for events and also bring in a much-needed income.