Almost 800 Mt Victoria residents have signed a petition to "save" the Wellington suburb's heritage buildings.
Wellington City Council is currently consulting on its draft spatial plan, which will decide how the capital accommodates an increased population of up to 80,000 people over the next 30 years.
The plan includes densification in the central city and fringe suburbs, primarily by lifting the lid on building heights.
It has created tension between those who want to build high density accommodation for affordable housing and those who want to protect heritage.
At the moment there are parts of Wellington identified as character areas, like Thorndon and Mt Victoria.
A resource consent is required to demolish any pre-1930s buildings in these areas.
But the spatial plan proposes to re-jig the boundaries by creating "sub-areas".
Anything outside of the designated sub-areas would no longer be subject to the demolition controls, because they're considered areas that don't exhibit a cohesive streetscape character, or are where character has been compromised.
Basically, protection would become smaller and more targeted to enable denser development within the broader character area, including 4-6 storey buildings.
The petition presented to council today calls on councillors and the mayor to reject the draft Spatial Plan and keep pre-1930s demolitions rules for all of Mt Victoria.
"This rule was established to help protect the character of the suburb because it
was seen as important to the heritage of Wellington. Mt Victoria demonstrates historical patterns of development and conveys a sense of community and collective memory for the whole city."
The petition said a key part of the identity of Wellington would be lost if the unique character of Mt Victoria was not protected.
Mt Victoria Historical Society co-convenor Joanna Newman said signatures were gathered at a community meeting and from volunteers and members going door to door in the suburb.
Nine people "tramped the streets for hours in rain, wind, and shine", she said.
Newman said about 50 per cent of the residents who signed the petition were tenants.
Lambton Ward councillor Nicola Young officially presented the petition on residents' behalf saying she loved the sense of history and diverse community in Mt Victoria, where she also lives.
Young said it was one of the most densely populated parts of Wellington as well as a tourist destination.
"The residents don't want to have a jackboot of planning put across it. Owners and renters want to make sure that the suburb's charm is kept intact."