Drivers to see pink in soothing Slough

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The Independent Online
PARKING A CAR can bring out the hidden beast in the most mild-mannered driver, writes Will Bennett.

Contests for parking spaces become a battle of wills, with the weakest having to drive on. Strong words are exchanged and rude gestures made and car bodywork repairers profit handsomely.

But now the council at Slough, in Berkshire, thinks that it may have found the answer to such urban jousting. It is considering painting its multi-storey car parks a delicate shade of pink.

Slough is not really a pink sort of place.

'Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough/ It isn't fit for humans now,' wrote John Betjeman in 1937.

The town has a black and white feel about it, with a few smudges of grey. Nevertheless the council is quite serious about the plan.

Researchers in the United States have discovered that a pale pink environment reduces people's aggression, induces calm and, with any luck, will lessen the homicidal instincts of the average town-centre driver.

A council spokeswoman said: 'We are considering a report about how the colour pale pink reduces people's aggressive tendencies and whether it would be a suitable colour for the town's car parks.

'Apparently scientists in America discovered that bringing prisoners into a police station painted pink made them as cool and calm as anything, however agitated they were when they were brought in.'

In a further attempt to spread the spirit of peace and love throughout Slough, the council is also considering getting local petty criminals to carry out this startling transformation.

Geoff Cutting, the leader of the council, said yesterday: 'We are working with the probation service and hope to get people given community service orders for things like auto crime to do the painting.

'A variety of colours is being discussed but the pink suggestion seems very interesting.'

This could turn out to be the ultimate deterrent to crime. Young, image-conscious hoodlums may sneer at community service and risk custodial sentences.

But being seen in public with a pot of pale pink paint is not something they would contemplate lightly.