The council’s planning committee gave permission for Wakefield Grammar School Foundation (WGSF) to proceed with plans for the former Clayton Hospital at a meeting yesterday.
Consent was granted despite objections being raised over the loss of historic features at the site, which was founded as a hospital in 1854 used by the NHS until 2012.
Concerns were raised over the future of plaques and memorial stones at the building. Councillors were told the central core and tower of the old hospital would be retained.
But it would be too expensive to fully restore the dilapidated building.
Laurence Perry, clerk to the governors at WGSF, said: “We believe there is significant public benefit in bringing this vacant site, which has fallen victim to vandalism, back into public use.”
Mr Perry said the foundation had unsuccessfully been looking for grant funding for the site. He added: “We just can’t take on the responsibility for returning it to its original condition.”
Mr Perry said Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust still owned the building, but responsibility for security would lie with WGSF after the sale was completed.
The planning committee granted outline permission, which gives consent in principle, for the application.
Coun Kevin Swift was concerned about whether enough information had been provided about future plans for the site. He said: “I think we really needed quite a bit more detail than that to be safe to approve the new development.”
Council officers said any new building work at the site would be subject to planning approval.