Building Permission

Dear Editor,
I am writing to you in the hope that one of your readers may be able to help/advise me.
My husband and I purchased a plot of land in 2003 in the Council of Olhão after being told we had planning permission from the council to build both a villa and a swimming pool.
When we completed the villa, the council granted a habitation licence and we have been paying council tax yearly since then.
Upon putting the villa up for sale with a local estate agent it transpires we do not have permission for either the villa or pool from the CCDR
(Ministry of Environment), and at this time it was the council’s responsibility to refer building applications to the CCDR authority.
We have already paid someone a small fortune to rectify this problem – unfortunately to no avail – and have been quoted an absolute fortune by another solicitor. We understand that there are many people who have been caught in this situation and are wondering if there is any group action being taken and if a legal solution has been found.
Your sincerely,
By email