Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has ceased the pre-sale of burial plots after failing to identify new cemetery sites.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “At its meeting on Monday, January 29, the council agreed with immediate effect, that the pre-sale of new burial rights will only take place for immediate burials and in cases where a terminal illness has been confirmed. This decision has been made to best serve the interests of our residents.
“The council has been assessing burial capacity across the borough and it has not been possible to identify any new cemetery sites, despite various attempts over many years, including work previously completed prior to the merger of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Councils.
“Members considered that if presales were to continue, the borough would have burial space for approximately 9.5 years and if the pre-sales of burial rights were to discontinue the existing burial capacity would extend to 15 years.”
The spokesperson added there have been no complaints received to date.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Council has previously considered the possible siting of a crematorium in the borough.
In response to a Times request for an update on this proposal, the council spokesperson said: “Outline Planning Approval was granted on February 3 2015 and it was subsequently agreed in March 2017 that the council should progress a Reserved Matters planning application for the crematorium project by February 2018.
“It was also agreed, in March 2017 that the council should engage with Belfast City Council to explore the opportunity for a collaborative approach to crematorium provision. This work is ongoing.”