Residents of lifestyle blocks in Kaharoa, north of Lake Rotorua, are angry because their community has been proposed as the site for a new youth justice facility.

Child, Youth and Family announced yesterday that a 19ha property on Te Waerenga Rd had been identified as suitable for a residential facility for up to 32 young criminals from Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

Kaharoa residents reacted angrily, with more than 60 turning up to a media conference at a Rotorua hotel to voice opposition to the plan.

The group said they objected to the proposal because it would devalue their properties and compromise their safety.

They were also angry the site had been chosen without community consultation.

Kaharoa resident Peter Spry told the Herald last night that community feeling was running high.

"You have to understand the passion of people in Kaharoa about the area to understand how passionate they are against this."

Mr Spry said his main concern was devaluation of his 1.6ha property on Te Waerenga Rd.

He had consulted three real estate agents since rumours of the proposed site emerged last week. Each had told him that his land, which overlooks the site, would decrease in value by 40 per cent if the proposal went ahead.

Merrin Townley, who has two children aged 10 and 8, said the facility would jeopardise the safety of families.

"If these kids get out of this youth prison, where are they going to go?"

She believed the proposal would go ahead regardless of the community's wishes because CYF had already bought the land.

CYF confirmed that it bought the property on Friday for just over $1 million, but said the facility would not be built without public submissions.

"This is the beginning of the consultation process," said general manager service development Shannon Pakura.

Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson would decide whether to proceed. If she deemed it unsuitable, the land would be sold, Ms Pakura said.

Ms Dyson said she had instructed CYF to carry out "thorough and open-minded consultation" before a deadline for public submissions of February 4.

CYF figures showed 48 youths from Waikato/King Country, 58 from Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay, and 62 from the Bay of Plenty had been held in police cells since January.

Rotorua MP Steve Chadwick said she planned to ask Ms Dyson for an extension to the end of March for public submissions in response to locals' concerns.

But the Labour MP said she was "absolutely supportive" of a youth correctional facility being built in Rotorua.