The new 15 acre site consists of two fields, opposite 382 Old Glenarm Road, on the right hand side of the road towards Ballygally.
It should be able to facilitate almost 4,000 plots with a capacity of 25 years.
But now the board has received a letter reminding them that the ministry has “the right to intervene”.
The letter also states: “The Ministry is of the opinion that it would be appropriate to notify the Ministry of council’s request for the construction of a municipal cemetery.
DUP Alderman Audrey Wales described it as ‘an insult to the members of this planning committee that they cannot make a proper decision. I think it’s disgusting.
Alliance adviser Robert Logan said: “This is obviously political interference in the planning decision. This planning committee has always worked on a multi-stakeholder basis and we like to be proud of that despite the fact that in the boardroom we disagree on a lot of things, but on planning we all agree on do our planning homework as best we can and without any political aspect.
“I am also irritated by this call by another name.”
McGarel Cemetery, also on Old Glenarm Road, is already at capacity and Greenland Cemetery in Craigyhill will reach capacity in nine years.
The new cemetery will include a memorial garden, 140 parking spaces, public restrooms, including a change of venue facility for disabled users and a staff building – with access to the site via a new right turn lane on Old Glenarm Road. A bus stop is included in the plans.
A decision on the request had been postponed in March to allow for an on-site visit.
Council planning officer Paul Duffy told the meeting the cemetery was being developed as a “long-term strategy”, noting a “general shortage of burial capacity in the area”. He pointed out five objections to the proposal,