A property agency has launched a new initiative to help predict population growth and housing needs following the Government’s decision to scrap regional spatial strategies.

Brindleyplace-based GVA Grimley, in partnership with Edge Analytics, has launched a forecasting tool called PHASE (Population, Housing and Strategic Evidence) which is designed to assist local authorities, housing associations and developers in planning for housing requirements.

Stephen Hollowood, executive director and national head of public sector, based at GVA Grimley’s Birmingham office, said: “With the delivery of the Government’s localism agenda, it is critical that public and private sector partners in the Midlands have confidence in the evidence being used to plan for and to support the development of new homes.

“Housing need, affordability pressures and a historic undersupply of homes are not issues that have disappeared just because of the change of government, or the abolition of regional spatial strategies.

“In fact, in the face of continued economic uncertainty and the state of the mortgage market, in many cases they have become even more pressing issues at a local level.

“We spotted a gap in the market for a new approach to planning for future housing development, which is driven by an understanding of what makes local housing markets work, rather than the outdated, inflexible, top down approaches that have characterised the last decade.

“These approaches have created mistrust between partners and stifled delivery of much needed new homes.

“We are now working with a range of partners to forge a common understanding of what level and type of housing is required to meet locally defined housing requirements.”

Jon Kirby, director in planning, development and regeneration in GVA Grimley’s Birmingham office, added: “In PHASE we believe we’ve developed the most inclusive and comprehensive tool of its kind in the market.

“We’ve drawn on the demographic forecasting expertise of our partners Edge Analytics and combined it with our leading multi-disciplinary property expertise and market advice. This means that we are able to fuse the best evidence available with practical and deliverable local advice.”